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Wallenius Wilhelmsen starts 2,500 temporary layoffs in US and Mexico

Wallenius Wilhelmsen has started temporary layoffs for about 2,500 production workers in the US and Mexico due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Norway’s Wallenius Wilhelmsen said the move is inline with plant closures and suspension of operations at several landbased processing centres.

“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,” said Craig Jasienski, president and ceo of Wallenius Wilhelmsen.

“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,” Jasienski added.

The temporary layoffs now started, amount to a little more than half of the company’s production workforce across the US and Mexico. Oslo-listed Wallenius Wilhelmsen said developments will be continually reviewed, and activities adjusted in line with customer decisions and market developments, with a focus on returning employees to work when business rebounds.

Earlier this week, the company announced the cancellation of dividends for 2019, together with plans to reduce capacity through a combination of redelivery of chartered vessels to tonnage providers, early recycling of up to four ships and cold layup of up to 10 vessels.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen said the moves are made to preserve cash until there is more certainty, and the management has reduced capex spend to a minimum.

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