Accompanied by a small delegation and representatives of the Schwarzwald -Baar-Heuberg Chamber Of Commerce, District President of the administrative district of Freiburg Ms Bärbel Schäfer today visited the headquarters of the KERN-LIEBERS group in Schramberg, Germany.
Today's visit had been preceded by another short visit on 01 September to the newly opened Oberreute daycare center in Schramberg, whose construction and operation is supported financially by KERN-LIEBERS.
"Full-time daycare facilities of this kind are an important element in ensuring the loyalty of employees to the company and the location", explained Andreas Hamann, Group Head of Human Resources at KERN-LIEBERS, during a tour of the modern facility in the presence of mayor of Schramberg Mr Thomas Herzog.
In a meeting with Chairman of the Administrative Board and managing partner of KERN-LIEBERS, Dr. Hans-Jochem Steim and the management board, the District President then had the opportunity to get an idea of the outstanding competitive position of the group in the international markets with its technically sophisticated products and manufacturing processes.
In the ensuing discussion, CEO Dr. Udo Schnell emphasized in particular that the competitive conditions in Germany, and especially at the Schramberg location, have been steadily deteriorating in recent years. While the relentless pressure on prices continues unabated, particularly in the automotive sector, the collectively agreed wage increases of the last 3 years and those expected in the future are placing a heavy burden on the company.
Given the unlikelihood of being able to resolve this problem through improvements in productivity, an approach had been made to the trade union IG Metall to negotiate working time increases without wage adjustments. In return, the company would be prepared to guarantee employment for the next five years and to continue the high volume of investment of recent years into the coming years.
In the event of failure of the negotiations, transfers to the KERN-LIEBERS locations abroad would be unavoidable to ensure that business at least remains profitable for the group. In this process, the Schramberg location could be subject to a makeover and lose its role as the leading plant in the long term.
Other issues discussed included the supply of specialist and management staff, the situation in vocational schools, and structural changes with respect to applicants for training at KERN-LIEBERS, which is currently preparing 125 young people for their careers.
The lively debate also covered questions of infrastructure relevant to the issue of competition in the areas of road and rail transport and broadband.