The measure has been negotiated together with the employee representatives and applies to all salary bands, except for trainees and nursing and pregnant employees.
The Swiss National Bank's decision to remove its exchange rate floor against the euro at the start of the year has presented a challenge to several RUAG units. Export-oriented units and those which are exposed to foreign competition in particular have suffered a significant competitive disadvantage which the technology group is now countering with additional working hours.
Additional working hours are coming into force at RUAG Environment in Altdorf, which specializes in the recycling of electrical and household appliances (62 employees) as well as in certain units of the RUAG Defence division – specifically the Land Systems Business Unit (350 employees) and parts of the Business Unit for network-enabled operations command (120 employees). Furthermore, all employees in the Support Units of the Defence Division (125 employees) are working additional hours.
It has not been possible so far to offset the competitive disadvantage with process optimizations, renegotiations or other measures. The price collapse on the global commodity markets has also had a negative impact on RUAG Environment. RUAG has thus held intensive negotiations with the employee representatives and has decided to introduce additional working hours, increasing the working time from 40 to 43 hours per week on a temporary basis at successive units. The increase in working hours is a temporary measure which will begin on 1 May 2015 and end on 31 December 2015. Aside from the new weekly working time, all other staff conditions such as holiday entitlement, salary and regulations remain unchanged.
The planned additional working hours are based on Art. 57 para. 4 of the collective employment contract of the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Industry. This allows companies to use various measures to regain their competitiveness when this has been harmed by extraordinary situations such as major exchange rate fluctuations.