Volkswagen’s labor leader has rejected a plan by management for a big rise in productivity at the core division, saying structural changes were causing worries among workers.
Volkswagen brand chief executive Herbert Diess plans to increase productivity by 10 percent this year, but this goal is not to the liking of works council chief Bernd Osterloh. In an interview with online platform IG Metall bei Volkswagen, he said Diess’ target is “unrealistic” and may result in job cuts among salaried employees. “We will not support a further drive towards performance,” Osterloh said. “We principally view productivity in a positive way … But we expect that VW at the same time guarantees the security of employment.” Volkswagen is facing huge costs from its emissions-cheating scandal, thus trying to revamp its troubled namesake brand where profits are shrinking amid high labor outlays and costly in-house production of engines, transmissions and other components.
Diess plans to cut investments at the division by 1 billion euros per year compared with previous targets and speed up efforts to increase cost savings. Part of the overhaul, the company recently announced it reorganized its vehicle development, appointing a senior manager for each of the four main production series covering VW’s small, compact, mid-size and battery-powered cars, giving them full responsibility for matters such as technology and redesigns. “The 12-point plan of Mr Diess is causing unease” among workers already disturbed by the fallout from the emissions crisis, said Osterloh. “At the moment there are more questions than answers. That is bad.”