Norwegian roro shipowner Wallenius Wilhelmsen has announced that it has started temporary layoffs of about 2,500 production workers in the United States and Mexico.
The company said the layoffs are in line with automaker plant closures as part of the fight against coronavirus, and amount to around half of the company’s production workforce in the US and Mexico.
Craig Jasienski, president and CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen, said: “While we work diligently to avoid reductions in our workforce, we have no choice but to respond to the disruption experienced by our customers and the effect it has on our operational throughput and income.
“The coronavirus has created unique issues, pressures and challenges for businesses around the world. We recognise and remain sensitive to the challenges many employees and families are facing during these uncertain times. Still, I remain confident that making some hard but responsible decisions today, is a far better course than waiting and having to make bigger and harder decisions later. We will continue to hold that mantra as matters develop.”
Earlier this week, Wallenius Wilhelmsen announced plans to reduce capacity through a combination of early recycling of up to four vessels and the placing of up to 10 vessels in cold lay-up. It also signalled an intention to redeliver chartered vessels to their owners as it takes preemptive action in anticipation of a huge drop in global automotive production and demand brought about by the spread of Covid-19.