Neptun helps as parent Meyer cuts costs

08 Feb 2013
Meyer workers approve cost savings

Meyer workers approve cost savings

German shipyard Neptun is reported transferring work to Meyer Werft to help its parent company cut costs and further raise productivity to meet stiffer competition, writes Tom Todd.

The reports said Neptun, in Rostock-Warnemünde, was transferring to Papenburg the construction of the 115m, €124.4 million research newbuild Sonne and also one of a string of inland cruise ships it is building. Meyer MD Bernard Meyer was quoted as saying “Papenburg has often helped Neptun. Now Neptun is helping Papenburg”.

Meyer this week announced a deal with its works council and the IG Metall trade union to introduce cost savings and further raise productivity in a bid to bring new orders to the yard. The cutbacks will start on 1 March, run for two years and hopefully save the yard €51 million in 2013.

The yard’s 2,500 workers have approved the savings, under which they will contribute through flexible hours and some free work. Spokesman Peter Hackmann told The Motorship Thursday no jobs were being lost, quality would not suffer and productivity was already high as a result of heavy investment in automatic production in recent years.

Mr Meyer said stiff international competition had led to a dramatic slump in the price of new ships. There were simply too few orders for too many yards, he told the workforce.

The yard has six cruise ships to build up to the end of 2015 and said it was “relatively well off”. But Mr Meyer acknowledged “we have not won further interesting projects of late because we were too expensive”.

That was a reference to the yard’s failure recently to win the contract to build RCI’s Oasis of the Seas, a contract which reports said is worth around €1 billion. Meyer has just cut steel for the first of two 163,000gt ships for RCI.Mr Hackmann told The Motorship it had been the Oasis issue that had prompted the yard to re-think its cost structures and talk to the workforce about strengthening and improving the yard’s ability to compete beyond 2015.

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