GE to Halt Production in Hungary for Two Weeks

Company is introducing four-day work week to avoid layoffs

General Electric (GE) announced it will suspend production in Hungary for two weeks in February due to decreasing orders. "The lighting business of GE Consumer and Industrial will shut down production at its plants in Hungary for two weeks in February," the statement said, citing declining orders in light bulbs, nearly 98% of which are exported.

To avoid layoffs, the company was also consider temporarily introducing a four-day working week, a measure still discussed with employee representatives, company spokeswoman Erika Windisch said.

In late October, GE announced it would shut down one of its nine factories in Hungary, cut production at seven sites and lay off 500 employees in the face of fierce global competition.

GE now employs 14,500 people in Hungary, 9,500 of whom work for the Consumer and Industrial business.

The Hungarian economy is heavily export-oriented and the government is expecting it to contract by 2% to 3% next year as the country feels the full force of the global downturn.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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