The German Federal Minister For Labor And Social Affairs Visits Pelikan’s Vöhrum Factory

Pelikan Group Logo

Back in July, I brought you news of some rather significant strife occurring within the walls of Pelikan’s Vöhrum factory, the production facility where the company manufactures its fine writing instruments. Workers at the plant, a force numbering approximately 230 strong, had staged a public demonstration in order to protest and bring awareness to several perceived injustices. Christmas bonuses not yet paid in full and June’s wages being delayed contributed to tensions boiling over. Imagine that scenario playing out in an environment where employees have already given up five days of vacation and 15% of their collective wages in a bid to keep their jobs. Concerns had also previously been put forth about a lack of investment in the plant itself. Of course, none of this news made much of a splash outside of the local papers but the post here exposed the issues to a larger audience and generated a lot of conversation about the health of the factory and the future of Pelikan’s fine writing division, not only on this blog but on many of the pen forums as well. I have frequently been asked for updates on the situation and have continued to monitor the news out of Germany. There hasn’t been much to report until now. If you recall from my original post, works council chairman Walter Dettmer had called upon Hubertus Heil (SPD), Federal Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, to get involved in the dispute. A trip to the Peine-Vöhrum plant was scheduled for mid-August and occurred as planned just a few weeks ago. Thanks to some local reporting, I can update you with some of the goings on at that meeting.

Continue reading

Discord At The Factory: All Is Not Well At Pelikan’s Peine-Vöhrum Plant

Protest cartoon stock image

COVID-19’s global impact on just about every facet of human life has been far reaching and felt in a way that hasn’t been experienced for nearly an entire generation. Many businesses have already failed due to the unique stressors imposed by the coronavirus pandemic. Other industries have been forced to completely retool the way that they approach their operations in an effort to mitigate the impact upon their business. The reasons for why some have succeeded where others have failed are numerous and vary by industry. To better understand Pelikan’s own trials during this time, I had previously reached out to Jens Meyer, Pelikan’s Global Marketing Manager for Fine Writing Instruments. He was good enough to respond to my August 2020 and April 2021 inquiries and relay some of the problems his division has faced. Some of the challenges cited included issues with the factory’s on-site work force due to government imposed COVID-19 work restrictions, delayed acquisition of raw materials necessary in the manufacturing process, and increased shipping times which had held up the delivery of finished goods to Pelikan’s distribution partners. These impediments have left the company’s vendors without stock and new releases have been running well behind their usual robust schedule. With each missive, Jens did strike a note of optimism that the plight faced was being worked through as best as could be expected. The struggles noted would be challenging for even the healthiest of companies to surmount. Any business already confronting issues pre-pandemic would certainly experience an exacerbation of those prior tensions in addition to a slew of new problems. Such is the case as it relates to Pelikan whose tribulations have now been laid bare within the German press. While some have long suspected a more opaque back story than what had previously been acknowledged, it now seems that the issues run far deeper than anything previously reported. Read on to learn of the unrest that has bubbled to the surface at Pelikan’s Peine-Vöhrum manufacturing plant earlier this week.

Continue reading