Forced redundancies are red line for Thyssenkrupp workers

FILE PHOTO: Thyssenkrupp steel workers hold protests over outstanding government grant, in Duisburg

DUISBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Thyssenkrupp workers will not accept forced redundancies should the German conglomerate's management resort to such measures as part of a programme to raise profitability, the head of the group's works council said.

"We're drawing clear red lines. With us there will be no compulsory redundancies," Tekin Nasikkol, who also sits on Thyssenkrupp's supervisory board, said during a press conference on Monday.

Nasikkol said he was assured by Thyssenkrupp CEO Miguel Lopez that the performance programme, announced last month and dubbed APEX, was not a restructuring programme.

"For me, this means that there will be no compulsory redundancies - neither at steel nor at Thyssenkrupp AG," Nasikkol said.

Lopez, in the job since June, launched the programme saying the company had not been good enough at meeting financial targets in the past and needed to get its act together to become a sustainable payer of dividends.

He has not ruled out layoffs.

APEX will be presented to Thyssenkrupp's supervisory board on Sept. 13 and will start a day later, according to a memo to staff obtained by Reuters.

Focus areas in APEX include personnel and organisation, material costs, business models and sales, as well as performance culture and change, the memo said.

Nasikkol also said the company's works council had so far not been approached by reported suitors including Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky for Thyssenkrupp's steel division, which is up for sale, but workers were open to talks.

(Reporting by Tom Kaeckenhoff; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by David Holmes)