Around 100 employees work for the Swiss industrial group Datwyler in the Ukraine. But because of the war, the machines at the plant in Malyn, about a hundred kilometers west of Kyiv, have been idle for months.
The Ukrainian employees still receive their wages. In March, the company, which has its headquarters in Altdorf UR, even paid its employees three months’ wages at once because of the war. Former and current employees have also founded an association that supports employees in Malyn and their families.
Ready soup for people in the bunker
Datwyler is one of around 60 Swiss companies that have a location in the Ukraine. The business umbrella organization Economiesuisse asked around at these companies and collected examples of how the companies support their employees and the Ukrainian population. Many provide financial help – but not only.
For example, some companies have donated several million packs of medicines and other medical supplies, hundreds of tons of food, clothes, blankets and other goods, reports economiesuisse. The food company Nestlé has distributed more than 140 tons of ready-made soups, instant mashed potatoes and ready-made pasta to people seeking shelter in the metro stations of the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.
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But Swiss companies also reacted at local locations. For example, some companies give their employees extra vacation days so that they can volunteer with Ukraine refugees. Or employees can take time off to look after refugees they have taken in at home.
help to escape
The Weidmann Group factory in Rapperswil is just a few hundred meters from the Datwyler factory. The industrial company, which produces specialty papers in Malyn, supported employees fleeing to family members abroad. Some employees had also found work at other branches of the group. In the meantime, production has partially resumed and most of the employees have returned to Ukraine, according to the Weidmann Group.
The Nestlé group, which had to temporarily close all its Ukrainian plants at the beginning of the war, has since started up operations again. According to the company, almost two-thirds of the pre-war volume could currently be produced.
Vetropack had to lay off 400 employees
But there are also Swiss companies that have already had to lay off employees because of the Ukraine war. The glass factory of the packaging company Vetropack in Hostomel, a suburb of Kyiv, was badly damaged during the war. It is impossible to resume operations until further notice. As a result, 400 employees had to be made redundant, as the company announced.
Swiss companies are important employers in Ukraine. Our country is the fifth largest investor in the Black Sea state. The Ukrainian business umbrella organization is calling on Swiss companies to invest in Ukraine again after the end of the war.