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Energy costs: 1,000 workers face temporary unemployment at QuickStep producer

Unilin, a laminate flooring producer from Wielsbeke (West Flanders), has closed down operations during the half-term break and intends to repeat the process during the Christmas holidays.  The company blames higher energy costs, more expensive raw materials and falling demand.  A thousand workers will have to sign on for what in total is a three-week period.

High energy costs are forcing several companies to lower production.  The situation is also affecting Unilin that produces QuickStep floors.

“Our energy costs have increased threefold” says Sander Laridon.  “The price of raw materials linked to energy have risen too.  The wood price has trebled.  The price of chemicals like ammonia, melamine and urea has also shot up”.

Demand has also fallen.  Demand for laminate, vinyl and parquet floors had dropped up to 30%.  As a result of higher energy costs people are restricting purchases only to products that are strictly necessary.  Alas, this doesn’t include new floors or renovation work” says Laridon.

“During the three weeks that production is at a standstill employees will have to rely on the temporary unemployment system.  We want to plan this system as efficiently as possible.  We are planning the production breaks at times that are handy for employees i.e. during the holidays.  It means we can turn everything off and save energy” concludes Laridon.

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