600 jobs under threat: several Estonian enterprises laying off workers

Liina Laks
, majandusajakirjanik
Bauroc, a manufacturer of building materials, plans to lay off twenty people.
Bauroc, a manufacturer of building materials, plans to lay off twenty people. Photo: Marianne Loorents

The Unemployment Insurance Fund received 17 notices of collective redundancies between October 1 and November 4. However, Lauri Kool, the PR adviser of the Fund, emphasizes that this is not the final number, because these statistics do not include those not collectively layd off.

At present, almost 600 jobs are under threat within the known 17 layoffs, Kool confirmed, but expressed hope that since some companies are making initial announcements, the actual number could be smaller.

However, the opposite can also happen, as the case of the furniture manufacturer Standard demonstrates: the initial layoff announcement turned out to be smaller as it turned out last week that 163 people would be laid off, or three times more than planned.

As for companies which are gradually laying off, the railway company Operail serves as an example: on Friday, the state-owned company sent out a notice that it is making loss and has laid off more than a hundred employees. However, the notice of collective layoff for the company cannot be found in the Unemployment Insurance Fund, Kool said.

“They had a smaller layoff in January. Currently, there is no new notice of collective redundancies, either they have not sent the announcement yet or it is not collective redundancy. But I also checked the last job of the people who were registered this year, and it stands out that people from Operail have come to us every month, which means they probably laid off in small groups, which is not prohibited,” said Kool .

In total, the Unemployment Insurance Fund has registered a hundred people from Operail, the most in September, when 21 people were added. “We are happy to note that 20 percent of the people who came there have already found a new job,” said Kool.

The crisis goes round

Kool confirmed that the largest layoffs are underway at the East Viru woodworking company Repo Vabrikud and at the already mentioned Standard. In the case of others, the numbers are smaller, although a large number of industrial enterprises stand out.

Last week, Bauroc AS, a manufacturer of building materials, submitted a layoff notice to the Unemployment Insurance Fund. According to Kool, the layoffs affected 19 people, but he expressed hope that the final number of those laid off will be smaller.

Ivar Sikk, head of Bauroc's Estonian business, could not be reached for comment. According to the Tax and Customs Board, the company employed 109 people at the end of the third quarter. However, the company has already reduced the number of employees in recent years: for example, in the first quarter of 2021, the company employed 131 people. The company's sales revenue in the third quarter was 10.6 million euros, which is considerably lower than in previous years. The company is owned by Ivar Paplavskis through a holding company.

The layoffs in October are mostly from the Viru counties: Rakvere home textile manufacturer AS Liliina announced the liquidation of the company, leaving 23 people unemployed. The owners Ivan Uvarov and Mehis Täpp did not see the point in continuing operations. Kohtla-Järve-based clothing manufacturer Lorinda OÜ (42 employees, owners Ain Starast and Peeter Pahk) goes bankrupt. In East Viru County, the Kohtla-Järve chemical industry VNK AS, which has 150 employees, is also laying off workers. The owners of the company are Evgeny Erofeev and Sergei Volzhinsky. Leones Inc OÜ, a trading company with 13 employees, is being liquidated in Narva.

An idea of ​​the problems in the woodworking industry is provided by layoffs in the Tartu County wood industry company Liistuvabrik OÜ; they had 114 employees at the end of the third quarter, the owners of the company are Swedish citizens Charlotte Rapp Hamren, Fredrik Rapp and Susanne Rapp Nilsson.

In the field of industry and construction, AS Saajos, which manufactures fire-resistant doors in Keila and is currently bankrupt, is making 38 employees redundant and Ojala Estonia OÜ, a metal industry company from Harku municipality (owner Almar Proos) lays off 35 employees,. The small Paide company Anna Kütus OÜ also announced the termination of operations; seven people will remain unemployed for the time being.

The problems have gradually reached the construction sector: among the layoffs is also the family company Kahu & Kahu Ehitus with seven employees, which has announced the termination of operations.

Many are being hit

According to employers, high energy prices, inflation and a decrease in demand are becoming more and more fatal to Estonian companies.

Other types of companies are also not exempt from redundancy. The business analysis company Sutherland Global Services OÜ also announced the layoff of nearly a hundred people in mid-October; on Friday, the publication Geenius wrote that the reason for this is the layoff of Twitter moderators.

Levercode OÜ, a crypto company from Tartu County, behind which is Nils Grossberg, also announced a reduction in the number of employees. The Rae social center also announced the layoffs. The ranks of employees are also being thinned by the Chinese-Dutch-Swiss-owned logistics company Vesta Terminal Tallinn OÜ, which employs 44 people. Võidust Grupp OÜ, a landscape maintenance company with 12 employees, has given a layoff notice in Viljandi County.