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General Motors Shortens Work Week in Hungary Plant

4 day work week

General Motors has shortened the work week at its engine and transmission plant in Hungary due to falling orders, Edit Legradi said. The cutback to a four-day week, which started on Jan. 16, will be a temporary measure.

Under the decision, made in agreement with the trade unions, the 640 employees and 39 contract workers at the plant will receive half their wages on the forced days off.

GM Powertrain-Hungary Limited had already cut back on manufacturing, closed down engine production for a week and laid off 70 contracted employees in October due to the global slowdown.

The plant in Szentgotthard, in western Hungary, turned out about 392,800 mid-size engines for export to Opel, Vauxhall and Saab models in 2008, which was "significantly lower than planned," Legradi said. "However, parts production remained in good shape throughout the year, with 205,000 cylinder heads produced.

Hungary's economy is heavily export-orientated. The government expects it to contract by as much as two to three percent in 2009 as the country feels the full force of the global downturn.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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