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Forest fears VW job cuts

Published on 09/03/2004

9 March 2004

BRUSSELS – Workers at the Volkswagen car plant in the Brussels suburb of Forest were on Tuesday anxiously waiting to hear whether they will be hit by the huge wave of job cuts announced by the German automaker on Monday.

The Forest factory employs 6,000 people including 4,500 production line workers.

On Monday Volkswagen announced plans to shed around 5,000 jobs by the end of 2005 as part of a massive cost cutting exercise designed to help the firm save EUR 4 billion.

The company is blaming poor sales and a sluggish car market for the radical decision.

On Monday the firm said it would try to achieve the majority of job cuts through early retirement and voluntary redundancies, a statement that went some way to calming frayed nerves in Forest.

Union representatives at the factory said they were feeling “slightly reassured” by the news from Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

“The rumours of mass layoffs and closures have not been confirmed,” said union spokesman Jan Van de Poorten.

In September last year the Ford motor company announced it would be slashing 3,000 jobs at its factory in the Belgian city of Genk.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Belgian news