Volkswagen said June 12 it wants to end its shorter workweek and return to a 35-hour standard without raising pay to restore its financial health. VW personnel chief Horst Neumann said the proposal was part of a restructuring plan aimed at increasing productivity and cutting costs, with an ultimate goal of "no one employed at VW losing money".
But the German labor union IG Metall rejected the change for workers who currently put in 28.8 hours over four days at VW's six western German plants. Both sides agreed to further talks on the proposal but no dates were set.
Volkswagen employees have worked a shortened four-day week since 1994, when it was introduced to prevent up to 30,000 people from losing their jobs. The company has an agreement, signed in November 2004, that prohibits compulsory layoffs in western German plants until the end of 2011.
But VW, which also produces the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Seat and Skoda brands, is nonetheless considering ways to eliminate 20,000 jobs, almost one in five, at Volkwagen plants in Germany. It has almost finalized a plan of voluntary job cuts that concern 14,000 posts.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006