Safilo reached a final agreement on the terms of the restructuring its manufacturing facilities in the Friuli region with local authorities and the unions at the end of February. In contrast with the underlying meaning of our article on the subject in the last issue of EyeWear Intelligence, published on March 3, the cuts in the workforce and the factories will not be implemented suddenly anytime soon. Instead, they have been gradually executed since 2009, when Safilo presented a restructuring plan that called for the elimination of about 600 jobs out of 756 in the region and the shutdown of one of its local plants.
To this end, Safilo had asked the Italian government to apply a system of subsidized wages, called “cassa integrazione,” that called for a gradual reduction in the personnel while the negotiations with the unions lasted.
Under the agreement reached on March 1, the number of layoffs has been reduced from 600 to 456, with some of the older employees going into premature retirement and the others assigned to other activities or re-training sessions. In the end, Safilo will keep 300 workers in the Friuli region, 162 of whom have actually continued to work for the company since 2009.
The news about the new agreement was given by union sources without adding any background. Safilo has decided not to comment on the information. However, we have learnt that the company's two factories in Friuli were mainly finishing products partially made at other plants in Italy and China. The Recenicco factory, which is now going to be closed for good, was handling painting. The other factory, located at Martignacco, carries out various finishing processes, including manual work, before the products are sent to the clients.
The reorganization of the production doesn't involve a reduction in the workload, but rather its partial transfer elsewhere. It will go to China for lower-end items and to other Italian plants controlled by the group for higher-end items that justify the “made in Italy” label.