FOKUS: Negotiations almost wrapped up

02.05.2013 | Hamburg

With FOKUS, last year the Otto Group launched one of the most important future-orientated projects in recent years. Negotiations between employee and employer representatives on the balance of interests and the social plan are now almost concluded. It already seems likely that the remaining number of full-time jobs to be shed will probably be less than half of the 700 originally announced.

The goal of future-orientated Project FOKUS is to profile the OTTO, Baur and Schwab brands more strongly in the fiercely competitive online market, and to use more synergies between the three company locations. The Otto Group initially assumed that within the framework of FOKUS a maximum of some 700 of the combined 6,300 full-time headcount at OTTO, Baur and Schwab could be affected by staffing reductions. Over the past few months, thanks to forward-looking human resources management, employee transfers and natural fluctuation, this estimate has successfully been more than halved. Alexander Birken, Member of the Executive Board Otto Group, Multichannel Distance Selling: “The intensive discussions with company management, human resources managers, project leads and the Works Councils have produced ideas and initiatives that have made our common interest a reality – preserving as many jobs as possible.”

In particular, spinning off the financial accounting functions to a Shared Service Center is a major job-saver, retaining around 100 jobs in Hamburg alone. This solution was driven through above all thanks to the Group Works Council. Council Chairman Uwe Rost comments: “Keeping these jobs is positive. However, we should not forget that the company will also have to do without the productivity of the affected employees. Under the circumstances, this solution was the best-possible compromise. But the headcount reductions that have already been made through staffing fluctuations, non-extension of temporary contracts and trial-period dismissals are hitting the workforce hard.”

Employer and employee representatives are still negotiating on the balance of interests and the social plan. Both parties assume that the final result can be announced before the summer holidays.

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