William Malcolm

Panasonic Plant Shut Down In Pilsen To Cost 1,000 Jobs

Panasonic is ending the production of televisions at its Pilsen factory. 900 to 1,000 people will lose their jobs in the factory by March 31, 2022, the chairman of the KOVO trade union, Jaroslav Souček, said at today’s meeting of the KOVO board in Hradec Králové. The general manager of the company, Radek Vach, said that about 400 regular employees will be laid off. According to Jan Dvořák, chairman of the company’s departments, the rest are temp workers. The reason for the step is the long-term declining demand for TVs. The company wants to expand the production of heat pumps.

“About 400 regular people should leave the company, with the proviso that we will try to increase employment in the remaining production of heat pumps, which we will expand. The factory in Pilsen will certainly not end,” Vach said. According to him, people learned about the redundancies six months in advance. “We will try to use them for the production of heat pumps,” he added, adding that there could be dozens of employees.

According to the chairman of the company’s trade unions, Dvořák, 450 regular employees will lose their jobs, the rest are agency workers. “The television market is declining from year to year. We expected it to come, but only in the horizon of three to five years, but covid accelerated it,” said Dvořák. According to him, 300 to 370 people will remain in the factory, they will produce heat pumps and blu-ray players and recorders.

Panasonic said in a press release today that it is currently moving TV production from its plant in Pilsen to an external company, as most companies in the industry have been doing for several years.

According to Dvořák, Panasonic employed 7,500 people in Pilsen during its peak boom, of which about 2,500 were regular employees. “We had the biggest peak in 2010, when we produced 3.9 million TVs,” said Vach. Last year it was about one million pieces.

Panasonic AVC Networks Czech stated in its annual report for 2020 that revenues from the sale of televisions accounted for 78 percent of its turnover. Sales of heat pumps accounted for 14 percent of sales, video technology for six percent, and the company received two percent from sales of spare parts and services.

Last year, the company’s revenues fell by 26 percent to 8.98 billion crowns, of which over 99 percent came from exports. Last year, the company’s net profit rose to 324 million crowns from 306 million crowns the year before. Last year, the company employed an average of 819 people, down 89 less year-on-year.

Panasonic AVC Networks Czech opened a television factory in Pilsen in 1997. At that time, it was the first strong and well-known Japanese investor to open its doors to the Czech Republic to other Japanese companies.

In addition to Pilsen, Panasonic has a production plant for the production of car radios in Pardubice in the Czech Republic.