DC bosses willing to accept pay freeze

19th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

19 July 2004STUTTGART - Executives at DaimlerChrysler are ready to accept a pay freeze if workers agree to savings and halt some of the worst industrial action to hit the German carmaker in decades, a company spokesman said Monday.

19 July 2004

STUTTGART - Executives at DaimlerChrysler are ready to accept a pay freeze if workers agree to savings and halt some of the worst industrial action to hit the German carmaker in decades, a company spokesman said Monday.

"The board is ready to take this step," said a DaimlerChrysler spokesman in remarks to Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

But with negotiations between management and unions due to resume Tuesday, the spokesman declined to give any concrete figures or percentages.

A wage freeze would be less of a concession than a 10 percent wage cut for executives which had been mentioned at the weekend by DaimlerChrysler CEO Juergen Schrempp in a bid to win a work week increase to 40 hours from the present 35 hours - with no extra pay.

Nevertheless, the German government and opposition conservatives welcomed the salary freeze offer.

"Credibility is gained by starting with oneself," said the Christian Social Union premier of Bavaria, Edmund Stoiber.

The head of the powerful Federation of German Industry (BDI), Michael Rogowski, also greeted the move, terming it "a symbolic step" in the right direction.

There is growing optimism a deal can be cut. DaimlerChrysler plants were working normally Monday after 14,500 workers failed to report to work over the weekend at two main factories in suburban Stuttgart, stopping production of 1,000 cars.

DaimlerChrysler managers are demanding workers agree to savings of EUR 500 million from 2007 in connection with production of the new C-Class Mercedes-Benz.

This would be achieved by cutting wages, bonus payments, vacation time and work-day breaks.

Any freeze of executive pay would yield far more modest savings given that the DaimlerChrysler's top managers earned a total of EUR 40.8 million last year, according to the company's 2003 annual report.

If the cuts are rejected, DaimlerChrysler is threatening to shift some 6,000 jobs from the Stuttgart region to elsewhere in Germany or else to South Africa.

Last week some 60,000 workers at DaimlerChrysler plants around Germany staged demonstrations and work stoppages to voice their anger over company demands for the pay and benefit rollbacks.

DPA

Subject: German news

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