In 2020, Signify made a profit of €335 million and it’s shareholders earned €340 million.
Earlier last year, this former Philips lighting expressed concerns about the corona crisis’ consequences. They asked their employees to work part-time. Despite their good results, the company will cut hundreds of jobs worldwide.
In December, Studio040 reported that Signify’s plans to retrench dozens of people, some in Eindhoven’s research department. The trade union, VPH2, is, therefore, astonished that, in light of that situation, the company will pay out so many millions to its shareholders.
Many of Signify’s employees are members of this union. “This is a blow for many of them,” says Jörg Sauer of VPH2. “The company had already announced that it would be scaling back.”
“And people were asked to hand in their salaries. Then, shareholders get paid out -that’s unacceptable. Employees would appreciate a little extra too.”
These people feel like they’re on a sinking ship. “It feels as if they’re working in a company that keeps downsizing,” says Sauer. “Especially when cuts are being made in the research department.”
“There’s a good social plan for people who’ll be made redundant. That will help them prepare for a new job or a lower income due to being unemployed. But when you see what’s going to shareholders, you wish the employees would get a little more as well.”
A separate issue
A Signify spokesperson says shareholder dividend payouts should be considered separately from the workforce reorganisation. “We didn’t pay this dividend for 2019. Due to the corona crisis, we didn’t think it a good idea.”
“That’s changed. So, we’re paying an additional amount that should have been paid out for 2019. That’s beside the regular 2020 dividend. These both amount to some €170 million; so €340 million in total,” the company representative says.
According to Signify, they’re reducing their workforce with the future in mind. “We expect to only reach 2019 sales levels in 2023 again. To remain competitive, we must go forward with a smaller organisation. This decision was made to secure the company’s future.”
Translator: Melinda Walraven