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Daily press, 2013-12-11, 12:11 PM

ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe supports Spanish employees: Almost 60 workers take up new jobs in Germany

Almost 60 employees of the ThyssenKrupp Galmed plant in Spain are making a new start in Germany. They have found new jobs at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe and are planning their future here. The employees came to Germany a few weeks ago and have initially been given temporary accommodation in various cities in the Ruhr region. They are currently completing integration and German courses at the training center in Duisburg, sorting out the paperwork and getting to know their new living and working environment. Most of them will then be going back to Spain for the Christmas holiday period before finally starting their new jobs at one of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe's plants. "To our knowledge there has never been a scheme offering employees new opportunities in this form in Spain or Germany, it's a pioneering approach," says Thomas Schlenz, CHRO at ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. "In meetings with employees and the works council in Spain, our aim was to find work for as many employees as possible. With this exemplary social plan we have succeeded."

The employees moving from Galmed to different locations of ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, more than 1,400 kilometers away, are mostly aged between 25 and just over 40. They range from skilled steelworkers to administrative staff to engineers. Roughly half of the newcomers will work at the production plant in the north of Duisburg, the rest will be spread around the Duisburg-Hüttenheim works unit, administration and sales, and a small number at the Dortmund and Siegerland locations.

The ThyssenKrupp Galmed site in Sagunto near Valencia was taken out of operation as part of the "Best-in-Class Reloaded" optimization program. Capacity utilization at the hot-dip galvanizing line, which mainly supplied customers in the auto and construction sectors in Spain, was too low. One of the options offered to the plant's roughly 160 employees under a social plan agreed with the works council was to transfer to new jobs at the parent company ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe. In October some of the employees came to Germany on an introductory trip. In the end just under 60 employees and their families, i.e. more than a third of the Galmed workforce, took up the offer. The rest opted for a severance package or early retirement.

For site-related reasons almost all the Galmed employees will be given new tasks. To aid communications, they will have the support of other colleagues from Spain or from a Spanish background. "We're providing every new employee with a mentor to help them out at work and in day-to-day life," says Miguel Martin-Pelegrina from the ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe training center in Duisburg. When the plant was closed the employees were at first shocked, angry and sad. "But now they are all highly motivated and looking forward to their new challenge," says Martin-Pelegrina.

For ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, too, the relocation of 55 employees and their families was a first. As part of the preparations, the company developed a three-week integration program. In small groups, the employees learn how the health and education systems work, how to open a bank account, and how to pay for meals in the staff canteen. Some employees with Spanish backgrounds are also helping their new colleagues find their feet outside work.

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