June 20, 2006

Volkswagen chairman asks employees for their support

Wolfsburg, Germany – Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Chairman of the Volkswagen Brand Group, visited the shop floor of the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, to request employees to provide their support for the company’s restructuring.

“We built great cars, but in terms of costs we are far from reaching our targets,” Bernhard said before an audience of more than 18,000 employees. “Let us all pull in the same direction. Help us make this site fitter so that your jobs will be safe.”

Bernhard said that in some cases, it is not possible to produce cars and components competitively at the group’s West German plants, because of losses running into millions of Euros, and labour costs in Wolfsburg that run more than a third higher than at other German car plants. He also said that Volkswagen employees earn as much for working 28.8 to 30 hours as other car industry workers do for 35 hours. “Under these conditions, no one will be able to produce cars in Germany in the future,” he said. “We want to make the Golf in Wolfsburg in the future, but only if the company does not have to subsidize every car we produce here.” He stressed that no employee would receive a lower annual income, but that the 35-hour working week would be gradually implemented when there are enough orders to justify working longer hours.

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