Kodak wants to close its plant in Soest
Trade unions and the works council are opposing the intended closure of Kodak's plant in Soest in the Netherlands, announced in August 1998.
In August 1998, Kodak Polychrome Graphics Manufacturing in Soest announced its intention to pull the plug on its production lines for film, photographic paper and chemicals bound for the printing industry. This closure will result in job losses for 200 employees. The plant will retain only its function as a distribution centre, offering employment to no more than 25 people.
According to the plant's manager, there is no hope of continuing production, though the trade unions question the grounds for such a statement. The CNV Bedrijvenbond union has accused Kodak of wanting to relocate production to the USA, where labour costs are cheaper.
The works council has been called in for advice regarding the intended closure. According to the Dutch Works Council Act, management must request advice within a specified period of time for such far-reaching decisions. If the works council's advice does not support closure, management will have to postpone implementation of its decision for at least a month, during which time the works council can approach the courts. In its efforts to find an alternative to closure, the Kodak works council has sought external assistance.
The unions have made it clear that they will enter into negotiations with Kodak over a possible redundancy programme only if no solution can be found in the recommendations put forward by the external advisors. The unions have rejected the draft programme presented by Kodak as being insufficient.