Demonstration against Job Cuts in Premnitz (December 10, 1990)
Thanks to the publicly owned enterprise “Friedrich Engels” – and its approximately 6,500-7,200 jobs – Premnitz was once a center for the GDR's synthetic fiber industry. In 1990, the firm was reorganized into the “Märkische Faser” joint-stock company. Because the Treuhand [Trusteeship Agency] only partly granted a requested credit for the fourth quarter of 1990, bankruptcy was imminent. After employees protested (see below), the Treuhand was persuaded to sustain the firm. [Note: the protesters' signs read: "Apprentices into the gutter? What will become of our apprentice positions?" (left) and "No mass unemployment in Premnitz."] In 1991/92, the "Märkische Faser" joint-stock company was sold to a Swiss firm. The change in investors, the splitting-up of the firm, and several insolvencies caused a drastic reduction in the number of jobs in synthetic fiber production in Premnitz – to 1,200 (in 1995) and 250 (in 2006). Converting the firm's premises into an industrial park saved – or created – at least 1,000 industrial jobs. For a time, however, the officially registered percentage of unemployed in Premnitz hovered between 20 and 25 percent.