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GE makes fewer layoffs than planned at lighting business in Hungary

General Electric (GE) has laid off 461 fewer workers than planned at its lighting business in Hungary because of restructuring and new investments, the company told MTI on Friday.

GE announced in October 2009 that it would lay off 2,570 workers at its lighting business in Hungary because of a European Union directive phasing out conventional, low efficiency lighting by 2013.

GE planned to lay off 1,241 workers in 2010 but made just 1,071 redundancies in the end. Instead of the originally planned 1,329 layoffs in 2011, it plans to lay off 1,038 people.

Asked for further details by MTI, GE said it had started talks with units on the effects of the changes at each of its bases in Hungary. Production will stop in Vác, near Budapest, as planned, but the exact number of jobs that will be preserved at the other bases will not become clear for 2-3 weeks, it said.

Phil Marshall, who heads GE's lighting division in Europe, said the company had made a number of efforts to adjust production to meet consumer demand, such as expanding output of halogen lighting. The company is working with the government and unions to support workers affected by the layoffs, he added.

GE Hungary, which includes GE's air travel, energy, healthcare, water management, lighting and electronics industry businesses, as well as Budapest Bank and GE Capital, employs 14,000 people. The company had revenue of HUF 845 billion in 2009, almost all from exports. The company was Hungary's third-biggest exporter and the fifth-largest employer in 2009. (MTI-ECONEWS)