Employees at Dedicated Micros Malta Ltd will start working on a four-day week from Easter Monday in view of the international economic downturn.

The company, which makes security and surveillance equipment, said orders had fallen drastically over the past few weeks and its measures to cut costs were not enough.

"The situation from last January to date has not improved and the company has decided that, with effect from April 13, all employees will be working on a four-day week until the situation improves," the company said.

Based at Bulebel industrial estate, Dedicated Micros employs about 175 workers and started operating in Malta in 1991. The Malta plant is considered to be the global hub of the company's manufacturing operations.

The company said discussions with workers' representatives and with the Director for Employment and Industrial Relations had already taken place.

It said it was continually following the situation with regard to worldwide sales and orders.

Last month, the Dragonara Casino placed its operational staff on a four-day week plus one day forced leave to ensure they retained their basic salaries.

Even 200 Carlo Gavazzi workers are on a four-day week as a result of a drop in orders. It is one of a number of factories in the manufacturing industry that suffered a drop in orders as an effect of the global economic crisis.

Methode Electronics, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions and Stainless Steel Products had also placed their employees on a four-day week in the past weeks but they later received government assistance for the retraining of staff and investment in newer technologies, going back to normal working hours.

In February, ST Microelectronics said it would be cutting its workforce in Malta by 400 to 450 workers through layoffs and natural wastage.

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