Hadeland Glassverk, one of the last surviving glass factories in Norway and one of the country’s biggest tourist attractions, is cutting staff again in an effort to cut costs. Nearly half the staff will be laid off between January and May.
The glassworks at Jevnaker in rural Hadeland, northwest of Oslo, dates back to the mid-1700s and some of its classic patterns from early in the last century are still in production. Much of Hadeland’s other production has been moved abroad, but the original location still attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and shoppers every year.
Local newspaper Avisa Hadeland reported on Tuesday that another round of staffing cuts will take place after this year’s busy summer season. Only around half of the 140 people employed at Hadeland last year will still have jobs in January.
“We’re doing this to secure Hadeland Glassverk’s future,” managing director Kari Roll-Mathiesen told Avisa Hadeland. The factory’s visitor center will close after Christmas and won’t reopen until May. Winter closure of the sprawling glass factory on the southern end of the Randsfjord is likely to become permanent in the years ahead.
“It’s too expensive to staff every single house on the property during the winter months,” Roll-Mathiesen said. “But for the public, I don’t think the experience of visiting Hadeland will be much different, because the large retail outlets, the gallery and the café will stay open.”
The company itself is also going through a restructuring of its administration, production and sales operations. Roll-Mathiesen said Hadeland faces tough competition from lower-priced glass produced abroad, noting that young people aren’t as likely to choose fine glass and crystal as they were earlier, so competition in the wedding and gift markets is keen.
Britt Olerud, who represents employees at Hadeland, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that the layoffs were “sad, but necessary” to ensure Hadeland’s survival.