The last shift is over and the last molten iron has flowed after more than 270 years of casting.
The fact that the last shift has been carried out at the casting works in Saarbrücken, Germany after 270 years may have to do with the reality that Volkswagen Group Germany (VW) had terminated its contracts with Bosnian supplier Prevent Group, who had only acquired the Neue Halberg-Guss company in 2018, and VW were not about to renew the contracts. It was reported that 70% of castings orders came from the automotive OEM.
The Saarbrücken foundry was closed at the end of June. The foundry was just a ball in the bitter dispute between VW and the supplier Prevent. The automaker and its struggle with the Prevent Group triggered a week-long strike. Prevent damaged relationships with important customers with horrendous price increases. As a result, orders were lost and the company has not recovered from them.
“The employees of the Saarbrücken Gusswerke fought, went on strike, hoped and yet lost. The insolvent company has no future. After more than 270 years, the foundry has closed down.” Other representatives of politics and unions also made similar statements laying the blame and responsibility squarely on the Prevent Group.
They “ruthlessly looted the company,” said Oskar Lafontaine, leader of the Left Group. IG Metall district manager Jörg Köhlinger said the company had “been blatantly ruthlessly bled” and CDU faction economic spokesman Marc Speicher said the Prevent Group had carried out a ‘predatory and brazen exploitation of the foundries.’ “The owners had squeezed out over 100 million euros out of the company.”
A total of around 1 000 jobs lost
The Saarbrücken engine block foundry had been in trouble for a long time. The company filed for bankruptcy in September 2019. At the end of November 2019, around 600 of the 1 000 employees had already been released. Initially, the administrator had found an investor, but then two major customers withdrew their orders. According to the company, the insolvency administrator had made every effort to win new orders.
Neue Halberg-Guss GmbH manufactured engine blocks, camshafts and cylinder heads. The company’s clientele includes Volkswagen, Daimler, Opel, BMW, Deutz, Scania, Iveco, and Perkins.