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Vestas Wind Systems Cuts Hours at Colorado Plants to Save Jobs

Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s biggest wind-turbine maker, cut working hours at two Colorado plants to save jobs.

Employees paid by the hour at blade-manufacturing factories in Windsor and Brighton were told yesterday they’ll have their working week cut to 32 hours from 40 hours, Aarhus, Denmark-based Vestas said today in an e-mailed statement. The company didn’t disclose how many workers were affected.

“The work-share plan gives Vestas manufacturing flexibility, helps to retain our valuable and experienced employees, and saves costs on recruiting or training new staff if market demand for wind turbines increases in 2013,” Vestas said. “This decision helps preserve jobs.”

Vestas is trying to prepare its operations in the U.S. for a slowdown in production next year as orders have dropped before a tax credit supporting wind projects expires this year. The company predicts global shipments will total 5 gigawatts next year, down from about 6.3 gigawatts in 2012.

The expiring production tax credit provides an incentive of 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour for wind power. Vestas is cutting more than 6,000 jobs over two years and has said that the loss of the tax credit puts 1,600 jobs at risk in the U.S.

The work-share plan was approved by the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment and workers will receive payment for the lost hours from an unemployment insurance trust fund, Vestas said. Its statement confirmed an earlier report by the Denver Post.

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