European Commission - Press release
€1.4 million from EU Globalisation Fund to help 680 workers in Portugal's shoe industry
Brussels, 17 August 2011 - The European Commission has approved an application from Portugal for assistance from the EU Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The grant of € 1.4 million will help 680 redundant workers in shoe manufacturing to find new jobs. The Commission is making a proposal to the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to mobilise the budgetary resources.
Introducing the proposal, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor said: "The EGF is an effective financial instrument of the EU to help workers facing large-scale redundancies. Those in the Portuguese shoe manufacturing industry have been hit by changing world trade patterns as well as the economic and financial crisis of the recent years. Today's decision will support the former Rohde workers on the road to new jobs through training to give them the necessary skills."
The Portuguese application relates to 974 redundancies in Rohde - Sociedade Industrial de Calçado Luso-Alemã, Lda. - a shoe manufacturing company.
Rohde kept a stable position on the market despite the increasing difficulties due to intensified competition mainly from Asia shoe producers. The situation of Rohde was, however, affected by the decrease in sales and the reduced capacity to invest, resulting from the financial and economic crisis. These circumstances, including the declining orders from the parent enterprise based in Schwalmstadt, Germany, affected the situation of the Rohde factory based in Santa Maria da Feira, Portugal, and as a result, insolvency proceedings started in September 2009, leading to the eventual closure of the factory and the dismissal of the workers.
The territory concerned is mainly the municipality of Santa Maria da Feira where Rohde was established. In addition, the redundancies affect the contiguous municipality of Ovar. These are located respectively within the Norte and Centro regions. The loss of Rohde adds close to 1,000 workers to the job-seekers in the two regions, which are suffering higher unemployment rates than the country as a whole. Both regions were already accepted for EGF support in June 2009 (see IP/09/998). Norte was accepted again for EGF support in September 2010 (see IP/10/1089).
The package of EGF assistance for the ex-workers of Rohde - Sociedade Industrial de Calçado Luso-Alemã, Lda will include skills recognition, vocational training, grants for training at personal initiative, entrepreneurship training and support to business creation, support to self-placement and hiring incentives. The total estimated cost of this package is €2.23 million, of which the European Globalisation adjustment Fund has been asked to fund €1.44 million. 680 of the 974 workers made redundant will benefit from the EGF assistance.
There have been 78 applications to the EGF since the start of its operations in January 2007, for a total amount of about €355 million, helping nearly 76,000 workers. EGF applications are being presented in a growing number of sectors, and by an increasing number of Member States.
EGF applications relate to the following 25 sectors: automotive (Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Poland, Portugal, Sweden, Spain); textiles (Belgium, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain); wearing apparel (Malta, Lithuania, Slovenia, Spain); construction of buildings (Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Spain); specialised construction (Ireland); architectural and engineering (Ireland); machinery and equipment (Denmark, Germany, Poland); printing industry (Netherlands); electronic equipment (Austria, Netherlands, Portugal); retail trade (Czech Republic, Greece, Spain); mobile phones (Finland, Germany); basic metals (Austria, Bulgaria); domestic appliances (Italy, Lithuania); computers (Ireland); shipbuilding (Denmark); furniture (Lithuania); carpentry and joinery (Spain); ceramics (Spain); stone/marble (Spain); crystal glass (Ireland); shoe manufacture (Portugal); publishing (Netherlands); wholesale trade (Netherlands); aircraft maintenance (Ireland); road transport (Austria).
The EGF, an initiative first proposed by President Barroso to provide help for people who lose their jobs due to the impact of globalisation, was established by the European Parliament and the Council at the end of 2006. In June 2009, the EGF rules were revised to strengthen the role of the EGF as an early intervention instrument. It forms part of Europe's response to the financial and economic crisis. The revised EGF Regulation entered into force on 2 July 2009 and applies to all applications received from 1 May 2009 onwards.
As part of its proposal for the next Multiannual Financial Framework, the Commission has proposed that the EU should continue to express solidarity with redundant workers and the affected regions through the EGF also in the future.
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