Vestas makes another 110 job cuts

Vestas on Thursday said it has cut its workforce at its blade factories in Windsor and Brighton by about 110 workers, or 10 percent of the company’s 1,100 manufacturing employees in the state.

It also announced that all remaining hourly production workers at the two blade factories will move back to 40-hour work weeks effective Monday. Vestas had cut work weeks of its Weld County employees to 32 hours last year.

The workforce reduction did not affect employees at the Vestas nacelle factory in Brighton or a tower factory in Pueblo, Vestas said.

Vestas plans to add more than 100 jobs in Pueblo by the end of the first quarter of 2013 based on an agreement to supply towers for third parties for North America wind power projects.

The company, however, has cut its Colorado manufacturing workforce from 1,700 since last year.

Vestas’ also cut its production outlook to between 4 to 5 gigawatts of wind power worldwide this year, and it plans to cut its workforce to 16,000 people globally by the end of the year.

Vestas referred to the last-minute extension by Congress last year of the federal production tax credit, which it blamed for a significant reduction in 2013 installations, because of the time it takes from when an order is placed to when the project begins.

However, it also said the U.S. market is expected to stronger as a result of the PTC extension.

Some jobs may have been saved if Congress had extended the wind tax credit sooner, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said.

“Last minute extensions prolong uncertainty for business – one of the main reasons why 2013 is projected to be a slower year for the wind industry,” Bennet said. “Congress needs to stop manufacturing these unnecessary crises and give these industries some predictability.”

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