Magna-Steyr in Graz and Magna Heavy Stamping in Albersdorf, Styria, have extended part-time work for 3,000 employees by six months, according to the Labour Market Service (AMS), according to Austrian Times.
A part-time work regime was introduced at the firms in November 2008, with most workers receiving 90 per cent of their wages.
Magna Europe spokesman Daniel Witzani confirmed AMS’ news, adding that the "production situation" would determine whether part-time work would be extended at other firm locations. He added it might be reduced at some locations.
The extension of part-time work at the two Magna plants is expected to prompt a reassessment of prospects for part-time work in general, which many experts had thought was winding down at the beginning of September.
Styrian AMS chief Karl Heinz Snobe said today (Thurs) the number of part-time workers in the province had stood at 11,000 at the beginning of September, down from a peak of 17,000.
Snobe said there were indications that the recession had bottomed out and recovery had begun. He added AMS had agreed to Magna’s extension of part-time work to give the firm what he called "a security belt."
He said Magna hoped that production of the BMW X3, the Saab 9-3 Cabrio and Chryslers (300 C, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander) would take up the current slack in production and make an end to part-time work possible. He added Magna would be able to produce 60,000 to 80,000 vehicles annually at its plant in Graz-Thondorf.
The Styrian AMS had reported in late September that the number of people in part-time work had fallen from 11,000 in August to 10,000.
AMS said then the biggest declines had been in Deutschlandsberg, Fürstenfeld and Mürzzuschlag. Epscos in Deutschlandsberg had 1,379 fewer employees, Magna Presstec in Weiz 352 fewer employees and ppc insulators in Frauental 260 less staff in part-time work, it said.
Snobe said: "Although the situation in the labour market remains tense, the decline in the number of employees in part-time work shows that some firms have been receiving more orders."
The number of people in part-time work also fell in other parts of the country in September.
Labour officials said firms were picking up more orders as new figures released in mid-September showed the number of Austrians in part-time work had fallen in the first two weeks of the month.
The number of people in part-time work regimes fell by 7,462 to 45,719 during the first two weeks of September, AMS reported.