BASF to invest EUR6 bn in Germany; maintains staff

German chemicals giant BASF says it has committed itself to spend a total of at least EUR6 billion on investments, upgrading and maintenance measures between 2016 and 2020 at its Ludwigshafen site in Germany.

Meanwhile, its company and employee representatives have also signed a new site agreement. The agreement titled “Meeting the challenges of constant change together,” applies to the approximately 36,000 employees of BASF SE at the site. It will run for five years (from January 1, 2016 until December 31, 2020) and follows on from the existing site agreement, which expires at the end of 2015.

The company will continue to forgo forced redundancies for the duration of the agreement.

“Economic and social changes are occurring ever faster and are becoming less and less predictable. With the new site agreement, we are creating a framework that offers both flexibility and reliability and will enable the Ludwigshafen site to remain competitive – now and in the future. We rely on our team of dedicated and skilled employees and we will continue to substantially invest in the largest, integrated Verbund site of BASF Group in the coming years,” said Margret Suckale, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.

Company and employee representatives are committed to the central role of the Ludwigshafen Verbund site with production, research and technology, marketing, infrastructure and services as well as competence centres.

“Job security is highly valued and a decisive factor in motivating employees to actively support the constant change. With the new site agreement, we have been able to extend job security for employees. The company’s stated intent to continue vocational training on a comparable level as in the past and to foster the employability of its staff will also contribute to making the site fit for the future,” said Robert Oswald, head of the Works Council of BASF SE.

The company also says that investments and active portfolio management are fundamental to its competitiveness, adding that flexible forms of employment, especially in areas where capacity utilisation and order levels can fluctuate considerably, will be maintained and further developed.

“The changes in the coming years will be very demanding for employees and managers, so they need to be flexible and prepared to take on new challenges. Job security and entrepreneurial flexibility go hand in hand,” said Dr. Wolfgang Hapke, President, Human Resources at BASF.

Research and development play a particularly important role in maintaining the site’s innovative strength, which is why R&D expenditures will be maintained at the high level of previous years. Ludwigshafen will remain BASF’s most important R&D site.

Demographic change is one of the great challenges facing BASF SE. By 2020, one in two employees at the Ludwigshafen site will be older than 50. From 2018, the number of employees retiring will start to increase sharply. In order to ensure that BASF can meet its demand for skilled labour, the company will continue to offer vocational training as well as additional and flexible qualification programs on a comparable level as in the past.

“Managers play a significant role in meeting the coming challenges. Only when we as managers lead and actively help to shape the change is it possible to convince employees that the changes bring opportunities,” said Rainer Nachtrab, chair of the committee representing senior managers at BASF SE.

The ongoing initiatives at the Ludwigshafen site – such as the Learning Centre as well as both general and target-group-specific learning offerings – provide a strong basis to support employees in self-directed learning throughout their entire working lives. Effective knowledge transfer will also be a focus in the coming years.

Given that working lives are getting longer, maintaining and promoting health is another important topic and responsibility shared by both the company and employees. To this end, BASF SE has launched numerous initiatives, including programs to help employees return to work after a longer absence, occupational medical services and the establishment of the Work-Life Management centre in Ludwigshafen (“LuMit”), and will continue to further develop these initiatives.


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