Monday, November 22, 2010

AP: Bechtel to lay off most of Romania work force

A Romanian union leader said Friday U.S. company Bechtel had informed him it will lay off three-quarters of employees working on a highway in Transylvania.

Mihai Lup received notification from Bechtel saying the company plans to terminate contracts with 800 workers in January 2011. He said the company is owed more than euro70 million ($95 million) in unpaid bills for work carried out, something also confirmed by the company last month.

There was no reply to phone calls made to Bechtel's three offices in Romania. Bechtel currently employs more than 1,000 in Romania.

Work on the highway which runs from the central city of Brasov to Hungary's eastern border began after it signed the contract in 2003, and has advanced slowly. It was unclear what would happen to the highway.

The contract was criticized by the European Union, because it was awarded without a tender. Romania joined the EU in 2007.

Romania is the seventh-largest country in the EU in area size, and has poor road infrastructure, with more than 300 kilometers (187 miles) of highway.

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