Kia struggles with labour shortage

THE KOREAN carmaker Kia near Žilina is having trouble recruiting enough new workers to run its assembly lines. "We currently have vacancies because there are not enough suitable candidates," said Kia Motors Slovakia spokesman Dušan Dvořák.

The company needs another 300 workers to be able to launch a second shift, but is having trouble finding skilled and experienced labour for the paint shop, the quality department, and the body shop.

The second shift is to be launched in March. The company is looking for new employees around Žilina as well as throughout Slovakia.

"Whether or not we recruit foreign workers will depend on developments on the Slovak labour market, and whether the needs of the company can be met by domestic labour. Slovak technical schools and universities and the training of young people for automotive or mechanical engineering jobs will play an important role as well," Dvořák said.

The company provides housing subsidies for people who move for work from other regions of Slovakia.

At the moment the company employs 1,700 people. Kia plans to produce 150,000 cars in Žilina this year, while in 2008 the total should rise to 225,000 cars. In 2009 it should hit full capacity at 300,000 cars produced by three shifts of workers.

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