A Panasonic factory making TV tubes in Germany announced it would close with a loss of 620 jobs as the market shrinks for traditional television sets.
The Panasonic-brand plant at Esslingen, a suburb of Stuttgart, is jointly owned by Japanese multinationals Matsushita Electric and Toshiba.
CEO Eberhard Buettner said it would cease production of cathode-ray tubes for televisions by March at the latest.
World prices for cathode-ray tubes have been falling because there is too much manufacturing capacity for the shrinking market, with flat-panel displays now the most popular for both TVs and as computer monitors.
Buettner described demand for tubes as "in strong decline."
The main trade union at the plant, IG Metall, voiced anger at what it described as the "sudden" decision and demanded the owners come up with another product to be made at the plant.
An IG Metall official said 200 million euros (approx. U.S. $235.3 million) had been invested in new equipment since the mid-1990s and this would be wasted if the factory closed. The official contended that a spring closure would breach a Panasonic guarantee to preserve jobs till June 2006. (Financial Mirror)
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