Volkswagen denies plan for short-time working

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

WOLFSBURG (Bloomberg) - Volkswagen moved swiftly yesterday to deny a local newspaper report that it plans to introduce 47 days of short-time working at its main German plant next year.

'We haven't made any decision on the scope and timing of possible short time working,' Peter Schlelein, the company spokesman, said. 'That figure is purely theoretical.'

The report, which appeared in yesterday's edition of Wolfsburger Allgemeine, claimed that VW's chairman, Ferdinand Piech, had already contacted workers' representatives about the plans.

But Mr Schlelein said: 'We have yet to make concrete proposals to the workers. We will spend the next few days talking with employee representatives about working arrangements. We believe we can find a mutually acceptable solution.'

Mr Schlelein confirmed that VW plans to reduce its 53,000-strong Wolfsburg workforce to 48,000 by the end of next year.

'The German car market is very weak and we do not expect any improvements in 1994,' he said.

VW is to cut production at its loss-making Seat subsidiary by 15 per cent to 350,000 cars next year. The cut does not affect production of the Polo model at Seat's Pamplona factory. Seat's sales in Spain dropped 21.8 per cent in the nine months to September and the company is expecting to make a loss of Ptas100m (pounds 500,000) this year.

Volkswagen US yesterday announced that its Protection Plus programme, which offers the industry's longest limited warranty at 10 years, will be extended to all 1994 Volkswagen passenger car models. The programme was introduced earlier this year with the introduction of the Golf 111 and Jetta 11 models.