Figures show largest monthly fall in unemployment
The rate of registered unemployed in Slovakia was 19.72% in late April 2000 - the highest monthly drop in the number of registered unemployed this year (15,514 persons).
The National Labour Office (NÚP) said that seasonal factors meant that 9,516 more people were excluded from the registers of labour offices in April than had been in March. The number of unemployed excluded from unemployment registers totalled 41,870 in April.
The difference was most noticebale in the Prešov region, where the number of job seekers removed from the labour office list went up 63%.
NÚP officials pointed out that the number of jobless living on unemployment benefits in April dropped 9.64% month-on-month to 134,709 people. The number of newly registered unemployed was 26,356 (a year-on-year decrease of 5,698).
Government moves to stave off SLK job losses
Over 500 jobs at the Slovenské Lodenice Komárno (SLK) shipyards seem to have been saved after the government May 20 reached agreement with shareholders of the ailing shipyards on provision of a state guarantee for a crucial loan.
Finance Minister Brigita Schmögnerová and Economy Minister Ľubomír Harach said that a deal had been struck on the terms of the guarantee on a 29 million DEM (636 million crown) loan for SLK.
The company will use the loan to kick-start production at the yard after last year's NATO military campaign in the Balkans had severely disrupted shipping on the Danube and virtually halted SLK's delivery of ships.
SLK management said after the agreement that the approval of the guarantee would prevent lay-offs of more than 500 employees from the shipbuilders' 2000-strong workforce.
Prior to the agreement, angry workers at the shipyard had taken strike action in a show of solidarity and called for company management to secure the financial future of the firm.
A special shareholder meeting was planned for May 26 to decide on the state's conditions for guaranteeing a loan to the shipbuilder. The SLK trade union arranged a 9:30 a.m. rally to take place outside the meeting to protest against the shipyard's failure to pay employee wages for April.
Pepsi expansion to bring in new jobs
As many as a hundred new jobs are to be created following the opening of a new Pepsi Cola production facility at Malacky, north of Bratislava, said director of the new operation, John Plumpton.
Plumpton said at a news conference that the $6 million investment would boost the workforce of the company in Slovakia. The number of people employed by Pepsi in Slovakia currently stands at 350.
National Labour Office claims up to 8.6 billion crowns
The National Labour Office (NÚP) said May 18 that its claims totalled 8.6 billion crowns at the end of 1999, up 23% year-on-year.
NÚP spokeswoman Lýdia Výborna said the majority of the claims were overdue unemployment insurance payments and claims originating from contracts on the creation of new jobs.
Whirlpool plans to expand Poprad production
Washing machine producer Whirlpool Slovakia said May 19 that it is planning to expand production, conditional on the successful acquisition of land adjacent to the firm's current production plant in northern Slovakia's Poprad.
The company is planning construction of three new plants supplying plastics, aluminum and cement components for washing machines which would reduce costs and create 300 new jobs. The total investment is projected at 1.13 billion crowns over two years.
The firm plans to build a new entrance and storage facilities while also expanding its current production facilities, increasing its annual output of washing machines from the present 920,000 units to one million.
The company last year manufactured 767,000 washing machines and had a turnover of 6.3 billion crowns, and is expecting a gross profit of 400 million crowns for the year. In 1998 the firm's turnover was 4.2 billion crowns.
Compiled by Ed Holt