Volkswagen to shed 600 temporary jobs at German plant to cut costs

Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:57pm EST
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By Andreas Cremer

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen will cut about 600 temporary jobs next year at a factory in Zwickau, Germany, as it seeks to cut costs in the wake of the emission tests scandal, labor representatives said on Tuesday.

Plant utilization at Zwickau, where the Golf hatchback and the Passat saloon are built, will be reduced next year with a compulsory holiday for staff.

Management also plans to stop producing its premium Phaeton car, whose body shell is also made at Zwickau, pending the introduction of an all-electric version in about three years' time, the labor officials said.

"We must now adapt to a new situation in which job protection will become more important again than the creation of further employment," said Jens Rothe, head of the works council of VW's operations in the eastern German state of Saxony.

The retrenchments were announced at a staff gathering in Zwickau where 8,800 people are employed, and may precede further changes at VW's glass-walled factory in Dresden where its 500 workers will be briefed on Wednesday about the plant's future use.

Analysts have been puzzled that VW's new Chief Executive Matthias Mueller, who has pledged to leave no stone unturned in his cost-cutting drive, had ruled out shutting the glitzy Dresden site where falling demand for the Phaeton has shrunk production of the carmaker's most expensive VW-branded model to less than eight cars per day.

"Production of the Golf and Passat models at Zwickau will be optimized further next year and (work) processes will be organized in an even more economical way," VW said, without commenting on planned changes at Dresden.

Meanwhile management and labor leaders at VW's Porsche arm are in talks with the goal of offering at least some of VW's 600 temporary workers the chance of employment at the sports-car maker's two German factories, Porsche's works council said.   Continued...

A Volkswagen company logo sits atop the VW factory in Wolfsburg, Germany November 20, 2015. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender