Osem announced today that it is prepared to hire 80 employees for its new Kiryat Gat plant out of the hundreds being laid off at the neighboring Visonics and Sugat factories in the city. Osem has several plants in the region as well as a factory for its Bamba snack, which is under construction, and due to open next year.
Osem CEO Itzik Saig said that although the Bamba factory is not due to commence operations until the first quarter of 2018, the company is already beginning hiring staff so that they can be trained ahead of the opening of the plant.
Osem's offer comes in the wake of the announcement that two Kiryat Gat companies are closing their doors. Visonic, which manufactures wireless home security products, plans to fire its 450 employees and move its production facilities to China. Sugat, which employs 60 people at its Kiryat Gat sugar refinery, plans closing down its plant in six months, and instead importing sugar from Europe.
Meanwhile, Manufacturers Association of Israel president Shraga Brosh warns that the layoffs at Visonic and Sugat are just the start due to the continued strengthening of the shekel. he said, "Other factories will soon close and there will be a large wave of layoffs in the economy."
Brosh insists that Israeli industry has lost its competitive edge due to the strength of the shekel and that this is "exposing Israeli industry to danger and it will not survive for very long if the dollar exchange rate does not weaken."
Brosh called on Bank of Israel Governor Dr. Karnit Flug and Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon to take immediate action with all the means at their disposal to weaken the shekel against the dollar. He claims that since 2006, Israeli exporters have lost $2 billion in revenue due to the strength of the shekel. "Without industry there is no economy. At the current shekel-dollar exchange rate it is very difficult for Israeli industrialists to carry on operating. It's true that today flights abroad are cheaper but where will the public get the money if the Israeli economy is collapsing."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 3, 2017
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