ECONOMIC BRIEFS

Big layoffs to hit machinery sector at the end of 1999

Engineering company PPS Detva intends to lay off 500 employees as of December 1, 1999, in a mass dismissal that involves more than 25% of its staff. Another central Slovak machinery company, Hriňovské Strojárne, will release 321 people (more than 40% of its employees) in November, claimed leaders of the KOVO metalworkers union on November 1.

Hriňovské Strojárne currently employs 735 people. Some of the released employees will be able to find jobs in the firm's subsidiaries. Laid-off employees will get severance payments equal to five months salary, paid in installments.

PPS Detva produces toothed cogs and gearboxes, and exports 70% of its output. The company has been hit by low demand for its products and a shortage of operating capital. Employees will receive four-month severance payments. The parent company employs 1,970 people, and the whole PPS group about 2,300.

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