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Kiel Labor Court prohibits IG Metall's industrial action at Heidelberg Plant

Press release from the issuing company

Kiel Labor Court has prohibited IG Metall's industrial action planned for today and tomorrow at the Kiel plant of Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG. The presiding judge at the Labor Court, Dr. Sabine Göldner, acceded to the petition by Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG for a temporary injunction against the IG Metall trade union. A fine of up to € 250,000 or even imprisonment can be imposed if the injunction is contravened. Following the strike ballot on Thursday and Friday last week, IG Metall on Monday, March 10, 2003, called for strike action on the next two days. In response, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG entered a petition for a temporary injunction which Kiel Labor Court has granted. As already announced last week, Dr. Helmut Nause, the Chairman of the conciliation body and a judge at the Regional Appellate Labor Court in Hamburg, set three dates for talks (March 26, March 28 and April 3, 2003) aimed at reconciling the conflicting interests. The company maintains that the framework set out by the Industrial Constitution Law (Betriebsverfassungsgesetz) alone is sufficient to allow an agreement to be made with the Works Council or via the conciliation body. Heidelberg remains convinced that economic and strategic factors mean that it is both right and necessary to concentrate its digital printing press production operations at its site in Rochester, USA, and its prepress operations at the Wiesloch site in Germany. This will cut staffing levels in Kiel by around 570 jobs. This is intended to improve the cost structure of the Heidelberg Group. Around 660 jobs will be kept at the Kiel site, mainly in the areas of development and service.