Some 1590 positions at the company deemed as "overstaffing", but hopes alive that only 590 jobs will be cut

Beneteau Group, the maker of Beneteau and Jeanneau motorboats and yachts, has confirmed rumours of mass job cuts by announcing today that nearly 1600 jobs are at risk.

Previous measures such as a shorter working week and the cutting of temporary staff have proved insufficient in the face of a boat market that has contracted by around 50%, the company said in a statement.

“Faced with this challenge, we do not have any other choice than to consider adapting our workforce in line with the developments in the market,” Beneteau’s chairman, Bruno Cathelinais, said.

There is hope, however, that up to 1000 of the 1590 jobs that Beneteau classes as “overstaffing” may be saved, through a further cutback in the working week, voluntary redundancies, and a measured reduction in outsourcing.

The cost-cutting measures have now been submitted to the company’s labour relations partners. “The company will uphold its social responsibility and act as a respectful employer in relation to its staff,” Cathelinais said.

He added: “Our fundamentals are healthy. The Beneteau Group’s sound financial structure means that it is in a strong position to withstand the crisis. As we were able to demonstrate during the crisis in the 90s, which the company emerged from stronger, I am confident in our collective ability to secure our future.”