Auto Parts Maker Schaeffler Cuts Hours for 20,000 Workers

Company does 60% of its business with car makers, and major clients like BMW, Daimler and Opel

Schaeffler, which owns much of Continental, said on Feb. 3 it would put 20,000 workers on short-time work as the global slump hits the industry.

Bavarian-based Schaeffler does 60% of its business with car makers, and major clients like BMW, Daimler and Opel have announced production cutbacks in Germany, sometimes with temporary staff reductions.

Schaeffler employs 31,000 people in Germany at 25 sites.

A company spokesman said working hours will be cut by about 20% in areas most directly linked to the auto industry.

Schaeffler is also paying the price of its takeover of Continental and has been forced onto the defensive by its funding commitments for the deal.

Last week, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck ruled out state aid for both heavily indebted auto parts makers, saying their problems were of their own making.

"It is not the role of the state to get involved in cases where company decisions were probably not sufficiently thought through," Steinbrueck told the Berliner Zeitung daily.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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