Tesla Stropkov to lay off 150 employees

The threat of layoffs hover over 150 employees of telecommunications equipment producer Tesla Stropkov. 29 employees were handed their notice from May 1, and another 28 workers will be laid off as of June 1. "As a consequence of losses on the Czech market, the situation in the company is serious," said Michal Viravec, leader of the KOVO metallurgical trade union at Tesla.

Tesla used to supply the Czech market with an annual average of 130,000 telephone apparatuses, about 25% of the firm's output of this commodity. This year, a mere 20,000 pieces have been placed on the Czech market, and although a contract for the delivery of another 5,000 apparatuses is to be signed soon, Viravec warned that "this is probably our last delivery to this market."

The loss of the Czech market was caused by the establishment in Prague of a competitive firm with foreign capital participation.

Tesla Stropkov's problems date back to last year's crisis on the Russian market. Viravec said that "the Russians are interested in our phones, but their payment discipline is poor."

In 1998 Tesla Stropkov grossed 10 million Slovak crowns on sales of 450 million crowns ($10 million).

In 1998 the company employed 1,445 people on average, but that figure is expected to fall to 1,390 in 1999.

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