VW shakeout continues as politicians step down

15th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 July 2005, WOLFSBURG - The shakeout at German carmaker Volkswagen AG continued Friday with the group announcing that two members of the Lower Saxony state parliament who received income from the company had ended their jobs.

15 July 2005

WOLFSBURG - The shakeout at German carmaker Volkswagen AG continued Friday with the group announcing that two members of the Lower Saxony state parliament who received income from the company had ended their jobs.

Ingolf Viereck and Hans-Hermann Wendhausen, both members of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's ruling Social Democrats (SPD) said they had decided to step down so as to head off any further damage to Europe's biggest car maker.

"In doing so, we want to help bring some objectivity into the public debate and avert damage to the company," Viereck and Wendhausen said in a statement. Both men had been working on a part- time basis for VW since July 1.

For its part, VW said it welcomed the MPs' decision.

The decision of the two lawmakers also comes as VW battles to lay aside a sex and bribery scandal that has already resulted in the resignation of four leading figures from the company and triggered a state prosecutor's office investigation.

At the same time, VW has unveiled plans for a new EUR 10 million rationalisation plan which is to be rolled out between 2006 and 2010.

The bribery scandal centres on claims of kickbacks been paid by potential suppliers and allegations that VW paid for so-called pleasure trips for union representatives to keep them on side. This included flying around high-class prostitutes.

According to DPA information, a former VW personal manager Klaus- Joachim Gebauer, who is under investigation in the scandal and was responsible for the group's work council, had in the past two years lodged expense claims totalling EUR 700 000. He has filed a claim for wrongful dismissal against the company.

Work councils form a key part of German labour relations and are based on employers consulting union representatives about key decisions.

The move by the two parliamentarians is not linked to the scandal and follows reports that a number of politicians that have been on the payrolls of several companies for years, allowing them to top their parliamentary salaries.

There have even been claims that some politicians received the big monthly pay checks without undertaking any work.

The issue came to a head when the former secretary general of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Laurenz Meyer, stepped down after admitting he had received tens of thousands of euros from German energy giant RWE, along with a string of benefits including discounts on his electricity bills.

Copyright DPA with Expatica

Subject: German news

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