TRNAVA OFFICIALS HOPE THEY CAN ACCOMMODATE NEW INVESTMENT

Samsung: more traffic, better pay

NOT EVERYONE is doing cartwheels at the prospect of Slovakia's third-largest foreign investment ever settling near Trnava in the country's investment-heavy west.

NOT EVERYONE is doing cartwheels at the prospect of Slovakia's third-largest foreign investment ever settling near Trnava in the country's investment-heavy west.

Trnava Mayor Štefan Bošnák, who says the investment should raise salaries in the area, also worries that the increased burden on infrastructure will create problems, particularly with traffic on the D1 freeway between Bratislava and Trnava.

"The [traffic] situation is already on the verge of collapse, and in rush hour people can wait in traffic jams for up to 25 minutes," he said.

Bošnák said that according to his information, Samsung intended to ship production from its new factory to a logistics centre in Senec using "hundreds" of trucks a day. Samsung officials have so far not released any details of the €320 million LCD panel factory's future operation.

Transport firms also worry about the additional traffic burden. Ladislav Hradil of the FedEx company said that it would "significantly affect our daily work".

The National Freeways Administration has said that it intends to build a third lane each way to relieve congestion on the most heavily travelled section of the freeway, which links Poland with Austria and the Czech Republic. However, the work is not expected to be finished before 2010, as it will involve dismantling and rebuilding bridges and access roads.

Samsung intends to build in Voderady, eight kilometres from Trnava, and to employ 1,500 people, with another 4,500 working at its seven supplier firms in the area.

However, with employment in Trnava region already down to 4.2 percent, Samsung will find itself battling other major employers in the region such as PSA Peugeot Citroen, Sony and Swedwood for available labour.

For employees, however, this could be good news, as they will inevitably see their wages rise as factories fight to retain staff.

According to the boss of the HR firm Personal Servis, Mária Kirschnerová, the arrival of Samsung could lead to a "war for employees".

"If an employer wants to keep an employee, they will have to offer better work conditions than the competition, including wages," she said.

Kirschnerová said that Samsung was unlikely to find 6,000 available employees in the region, and would be forced to import them from other areas of Slovakia, as well as to make use of temp agencies.

In the village of Voderady (pop. 1,400), meanwhile, residents are excited at the prospect of Samsung's arrival.

"This factory will have not only a regional but also a national and a Europe-wide meaning," said Mayor Marek Turanský. "It will help to speed up the resolution of basic infrastructure problems, it will increase housing construction, and it will boost culture and sport."

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