VW workers launch warning strikes

29th October 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 October 2004, HANOVER - About 4,000 Volkswagen workers stayed off the job for about an hour Friday to press demands for higher wages that remained unresolved after a fifth round of talks between their union and management at Europe's largest car maker. Work was stopped at three facilities in what the IG Metall union has said would be a series of "warning strikes". A new round of talks is scheduled for Monday. Chief union negotiator Hartmut Meine said there had been little headway in the talks, with Volk

29 October 2004

HANOVER - About 4,000 Volkswagen workers stayed off the job for about an hour Friday to press demands for higher wages that remained unresolved after a fifth round of talks between their union and management at Europe's largest car maker.

Work was stopped at three facilities in what the IG Metall union has said would be a series of "warning strikes".

A new round of talks is scheduled for Monday.

Chief union negotiator Hartmut Meine said there had been little headway in the talks, with Volkswagen showing no sign of shifting from its position.

"It's very tough - we don't see a solution at the moment," he said.

Company negotiator Josef-Fidelis Senn criticized IG Metall for showing no willingness to help the company reduce costs.

VW wants a two-year wage freeze, saying it is the only way it can guarantee jobs. It is seeking to cut labour costs by EUR two billion, or 30 percent, by 2011 to retain competitiveness.

The union is pressing for pay increases of 2.2 percent and 2.7 percent in a 26-month deal, along with job guarantees.

IG Metall began the work stoppages as soon as allowed under law governing wage negotiations in Germany. The warning strikes could soon affect more of the 103,000 VW workers in the company's six western German plants.

The talks have come against a backdrop of falling profits at Volkswagen, with the company reporting Thursday a 65 percent drop in third-quarter net profit from the same period a year ago.

Volkswagen has been hit by slack sales in German and the United States, while handicapped by a strong euro which has made its cars less competitive in export markets.

Volkswagen profitability plummeted through the first nine months of this year, the company announced Thursday.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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