However, while it is used widely in production segments, designers and developers jobs normally are not eligible to such working time models. "We now develop products that come to market in four to six years. It would be counterproductive to send engineers off for reduced working time," a Bosch spokesperson explained.
In Austria as well as in Germany, the decline in demand affects production activity. PCB manufacturer AT&S (Vienna) for instance has negotiated reduced working hours for some of its activity segments after already having announced to transfer 450 jobs in product segments where not the latest technology is required to Asia. The company achieves about 10 percent of its sales with automotive customers; other customer groups include industrial and medical electronics.
Beginning February, the company now plans to reduce working hours in its Klagenfurt production site over at least three months, affecting about 130 workers. The company plans to reduce its production by "up to 50 percent", as a company spokesperson explained. "This means that we can decide on short notice to reduce it only by 20 or 30 percent, if the order situation demands it," he said hinting that the company still expects to successfully land some orders.
In other companies, the situation is worse. After having seen its order to decline drastically, PCB and component manufacturer Vogt AG (Obernzell, Germany), a subsidiary of Japanese Sumida Corp., announced to cut jobs already in late 2008. This week, the company which also sells to customers to the equally suffering telecommunications industry, announced details: 219 workers will lose their jobs.