On 4 April 2019 WOW-Europe sent a letter to the European commissioner for Competition, Ms. Margarethe Vestager concerning the foreseen closure of the Nidec Austria plant in Fürstenfeld. The letter was sent after receiving a disturbing letter from the colleagues of the Fraktion Christlicher Gewerkschafter – FCG in Austria. The disturbing message was about the proposed acquisition of Embraco (Brazil) by Nidec (Japan), and the possible consequences this would have on the Nidec Austria plant in Fürstenfeld (400 employees).
The EU-Commission fears that the possible merger between Nidec and Embraco will result in reduced competition in the sector. In order to prevent for the company to become too powerful the European Commission therefore demanded that the Nidec-plant in in Fürstenfeld needed to be sold. This is not a favourable situation for the 400 employees of the plant.
For a relatively small community with just over 8.000 inhabitants Fürstenfeld needs the plant. Through the demanded selling of the Nidec-plant the workers and their families affected as well as the community at large will be hit hard. The WOW does not believe that this should be the outcome of such a merger.
We believe that a merger between the Nidec Group and Embraco should be possible without having to sell the Nidec-plant in Fürstenfeld. We would therefore urge you to look into this case once more and reconsider your earlier demand of selling the plant in Fürstenfeld.
In addition to the protection of these 400 jobs the issue is about preserving European jobs. We do not believe that the European Commission for Competition should take decisions that result in the destruction of EU jobs. In our opinion this is exactly what will happen in this case.
In a press communication of 12 April 2019 the European Commission, however, stated that it had approved the acquisition of Embraco by Nidec subject to conditions. As was stated in a letter by Mr. Johannes Laitenberger, Director-General for Competition DG,: ‘The Commission accepted the commitments offered by Nidec consisting of the sale of its refrigeration compressor business for both household and light commercial applications. This includes Nidec’s plants in Austria, Slovakia and China (…)’.
WOW will continue to follow this case to see that the affected workers will be treated accordingly.