Two companies within the M. Demajo Group – Packprint Ltd and Multipackaging Ltd – have announced they will be reducing their staff working week to 32 hours from 40, spread out over five days.
The decision was taken following negotiation with the General Workers’ Union, which represents the majority of the two companies’ employees, and has been blamed on the deepening international financial crisis.
Contacted by MaltaToday, M. Demajo company secretary Adrian Bajada yesterday described the decision as a case of force majeur.
“In a situation where manufacturing firms are laying off staff and/or reducing work hours, it is inevitable that a company such as ours would follow suit,” he said. “Instead of laying off workers, which was also an option, we decided it would be better to retain staff but reduce working hours,” he added.
Bajada pointed out that companies like Multipackaging and Packprint depend largely on orders by export-oriented firms, which are inevitably the hardest hit in the current economic climate.
“Personally, I don’t see the situation improving in 2009,” he added when asked for his outlook on the immediate future.
Bajada added that both the GWU and the staff proved to be very considerate, given the circumstances. “They understood the constraints we are under,” he explained. “Even our employees understood the situation. We have in fact agreed on maximising flexibility, and depending on a change in circumstances, we will be able to increase working times within 24 hours. Our clients can set their minds at rest that they will not be affected.”
Multipackaging Ltd was incorporated into the M. Demajo Group in 1964 with the purpose of manufacturing corrugated board and corrugated cardboard cartons. Packprint limited was established in 1970 and has been producing printed folding cartons for fast moving consumer goods over the past three decades.