Sodastream is laying off workers again: 120 employees from he plant in Ein HaNegev near Rahat


by Ifi Reporter Category:Capital Market Dec 12, 2022

Sodastream is laying off workers again: it will say goodbye to 120 employees, mainly from the plant in Ein HaNegev near Rahat and Lahavim. The company, which employs approximately 2,900 people in Israel, where it concentrates its production activities, is owned by the international corporation PepsiCo, which purchased it in 2018 for $3.2 billion.
The company stated that: "In recent years, Sodastream has increased the scope of its workforce in order to respond to the growth that accompanied the company for a long time, and even more so during the Corona period. The current forecasts of production volumes reflect a return to the levels of demand that were known in the past. At the same time, the company is exposed to fluctuating global market conditions, affecting its activity.
All of these require us to take efficiency measures and make adjustments to the new business reality, also within the company's personnel. After deep thought, a painful decision was made to reduce about 5% of the company's global workforce. We will of course provide support to these employees through the provision of a retirement grant and assistance in finding an alternative workplace through a dedicated career center that will be set up at the company's site in Lahabim."
In the meantime, the struggle of the Lahavim plant in Galilee, which Pratt & Whitney wants to close and lay off 900 workers, is intensifying. The parent company wishes to transfer the activity of the distributor to the United States.
The storm of layoffs and the closing of the plant in the north reached the finance committee in the Knesset: Martin Beaulieu, the vice president for operations strategy at the American company claimed that they did not find a buyer and that the plant lost 700 million dollars and will continue to lose until the closure. The Histadrut representative rebuffed him: "They want to close to bury all the competitors, to eliminate them."
The chairman of the Histadrut in the Western Galilee area, Asher Shmueli, dismissed in the discussion the answer given by the representative of the American company: "We have three companies that are interested in purchasing the factory. Two from Israel and one from abroad. They never tried to sell it. They want to close to bury all the competitors, to eliminate. They want to be exclusive."
The Chairman of the Finance Committee, MK Moshe Gafni, demanded from the owners of the company: "Even though it is a private enterprise, we will not stand by and will make every effort to ensure that you stay, and if you leave, then sell to an Israeli company so that the employees will continue to work and will not be harmed."
The members of the Knesset, the representatives of the Histadrut and the workers attacked the representatives of the American company in the debate and accused them of acting with the intention of closing the profitable factory from the beginning. "The decision was not made recently, but at the time of the acquisition of the Lahavim factory by the American company," asserted Sigal Sheltiel Halevi, CEO of the Tifen Industrial Council. According to her, "there the decision was made that a decade from now the activity will be fully transferred to the United States. I sincerely hope that we will be able to save the The situation, however, does not see it that way. They are firm in their opinion because the decision was made a long time ago."
Beaulieu, the company's representative, went on to explain the reasons for the decision to close the factory: "We did an in-depth analysis of all the options we have as a company and Pratt & Whitney decided to get out of the compressor production business. We are losing a lot of money. From 2018, the requirements for compressor blades for engines decreased by more than half. We We see a continued decrease in the requirements for blades in the coming decade. We have new engines that will replace the existing ones and they have a different technology."
According to him, since they purchased the Israeli factory, they invested in stabilizing the factory and provided it with financial support, and the expectation is that the company will continue to lose money if it owns it any longer. "There are very few interested parties in the world who are interested in these engines" claimed Beaulieu. We have 35 thousand workers in the world and we care about them, and we understand the harm to Israeli workers. The goal is not to keep losing and to create a small but strong company."
Ron Tomer, the president of the manufacturers' association, said in a counter discussion that "these blades (which are produced at the factory in Nahariya and Tefan) are not going to disappear, they are very much needed by the aircraft manufacturers." He claimed that "the owners decided to build their production in the USA following the policy that President Biden is leading. The factory in fair competition can face the competition against the USA. They haven't invested in it for years and it can be optimized. There is an unfolding event here of a local gathering back of factories in the world. Biden's plan to return factories to the USA will touch many more factories."
Farid Said, the chairman of the employees' council at Lahavim Technology responded to the words of the representative of the factory owners and said: "There has been a regular plan here since the factory was bought. Instead of reaching goals of profit, they made us goals of disqualification. The plant is profitable and good. We are the best in the world. The compressor blades will not disappear even 30 years from now. They don't want us anymore? Let them sell."
In recordings from a recording of a conversation reached by Ynet, and revealed last night between a representative of the Pratt & Whitney company, and a manager at a blade factory in the Galilee, it appears that the company allegedly acted to artificially raise the prices of the blades produced by it in order to avoid selling to competitors and instructed them to meet disqualification targets for the blades they produce, as the employees claim. "I don't want to ruin my name," said the representative. The Pratt & Whitney company denies the allegations and in a letter they sent today to the company's employees explained that "the claim that Pratt & Whitney intentionally caused losses to the factory it owns - is baseless". The factory's management explained to the employees that "the claim circulated in the media as if prices were deliberately raised for customers is not true at all, mainly for the simple reason that the company's agreements are long-term agreements that were signed several years ago, when the company is committed to the prices indicated there. The company acted according to these agreements and the prices stated in these contracts were not We have changed."



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