The situation on the international printing press market remains tense given the increasing significance of online media and regional economic problems. Growing submarkets, such as packaging and digital printing, oppose shrunken segments, such as publication and newspaper printing.
Structural changes in the printing industry have continued since the start of the financial crisis in autumn 2008. The word’s second-largest printing press manufacturer, Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), started to react to this development already in early 2009 by restructuring the distribution of work between its plants. It has since reduced its capacity by 25% in its core sheetfed and web offset business, which has been especially effected. The number of employees on the group payroll has fallen from 8,200 in 2007 to some 6,300. This total will fall below 6,000 with phased retirement schemes and other measures coming into effect. Thanks to the company’s realignment which began early enough and its strong position in niche markets, such as metal decorating, industrial coding and security printing, the KBA group has consistently achieved positive pre-tax earnings since 2009.
With effect from 1 January 2013 collective special regulations, which were agreed by KBA, employee representatives and representatives from IG Metall, will come into place at the main plants in Würzburg and Radebeul. Introduced to alleviate fluctuations in capacity utilisation, these amendments also serve to improve the profitability of the core sheetfed and web press business. The amendments to the wage agreements will be in place until the end of 2014 and contain, among other things, the removal of hours from flexitime accounts without adjusting wages as well as a reduction in the weekly regular working times with corresponding adjustments to wages and salary. The actual weekly amount of hours worked can vary considerably depending on the volume of orders and operational capacity.
Along with significant cost savings the KBA management board expects that the agreed regulations resulting from intensive talks with employees and representatives from the trade union will bring increased flexibility combating seasonal or regional fluctuations in demand. The management board views this constructive contribution by the workforce as a further important part in stabilising the earnings of the company’s traditional sheetfed and web printing press business. In return as part of this special regulation the employees who are covered by the collective agreement in Würzburg and Radebeul are protected from dismissal until 30 June 2015.
The management board and non-tariff professional and managerial staff will also be subject to the savings to the same degree.