Magna ends Graz plant part-time scheme

Thousands of workers at Magna’s Graz plant are back in full-time work as the car industry supplier registered a sharp increase in orders.Around 4,500 staff were put into an 18-month part-time model to avoid sackings.Workers’ Union official Thomas Stoimaier said today (Fri): “The company’s order situation is currently very good and this is why it can now guarantee good employment circumstances.”One of the most spectacular cars leaving conveyor belts at the Magna Steyr factory is the 200,000-Euro Rapide, the first Aston Martin model built outside the United Kingdom.The first few dozen of the 2,000 477-horsepower cars produced at the Graz-Thalerhof site have already been shipped to retailers.Workers had to undergo six-month courses at the British firm’s headquarters in Gaydon, Warwickshire, before starting production.Other current projects Magna workers in Graz have been kept busy with are the production of sports car Peugeot RCZ, while construction of a new small off-road BMW will start this summer.An overall 100,000 cars will be built throughout 2010 at Magna’s Graz factory.Around 80 per cent of staff last year agreed on a voluntary 20-per-cent income cut to help the firm get through the crisis. Magna said the agreement expired at the end of this month and there were no plans to extend it now that the economic situation has improved.Magna is an Austrian-Canadian firm founded by Styrian entrepreneur Frank Stronach. Magna Europe boss Siegfried Wolf agreed with General Motors (GM) bosses about taking over of its struggling subsidiary Opel in a pre-contract, before the US company decided to keep the German firm.