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Daimler Will Cut Work Hours Early Next Year

These measures are being taken to adapt to a slump in demand.

Daimler said on Dec. 5 it would resort to shorter workweeks early next year to adapt to a sharp slump in demand. "Daimler expects to put staff on four-day work weeks, sometimes even three days," a spokeswoman said.

She did not rule out the possibility that "additional blocs of work stoppages" could be added periodically.

The measures affect around two thirds of the 28,800 workers at Daimler's factory in Sendelfingen, near Stuttgart in southwestern Germany, from January 12 to March 31.

"Talks are continuing" at other plants, the spokeswoman said, adding that Daimler had agreed to freeze firings until 2012.

The situation of temporary and part-time workers is less certain however. Daimler said last week their number would be reduced but gave no details.

The group employs 167,000 workers in Germany, including a maxiumum of 2,500 temporary staff.

Like most of its rivals, Daimler has been slammed by a massive drop in demand. In November, its Mercedes-Benz division reported that sales had fallen by 25% on a 12-month basis.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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