Volkswagen Auto Group (VAG) and IG Metall trade union — the dominant metalworkers’ union in Germany — have begun 2015 pay negotiations with bargaining committees for both parties meeting in Hanover, Germany on Wednesday, October 4th.
Whatever terms are agreed to in the collective agreement will apply to roughly 115,000 employees at German VW facilities in Wolfsburg, Brunswick, Hanover, Salzgitter, Emden and Kassel, as well as to those working for Volkswagen Financial Services AG.
“There is growing uncertainty in many regions of the world. Risks that were already apparent during the 2013 pay negotiations have become more pronounced. We also face new risks in 2015. As a result, it is more important than ever before to ensure that our competitiveness is not jeopardized. A reasonable pay settlement is essential”, said the leader of the Volkswagen committee, Martin Rosik, who is also the chief of Human Resources of the Volkswagen Passenger Car brand.
“In many regions, the political and economic situation is becoming increasingly unstable. Countries such as Russia, Brazil or Argentina are in crisis. And severe exchange rate fluctuations are also making our business more difficult,” said Rosik. “We have explained our analysis to IG Metall and have offered to develop the right answers to the situation together with the employee representatives.”
Rosik described the situation in Europe, Volkswagen’s domestic market, as follows: “Unemployment continues to depress the mood of consumers in Southern Europe. New passenger car registrations in Western Europe are as low as they were 20 years ago.” He added that more and more investment in future-oriented technologies was required. “And Asian manufacturers continue to enter the market aggressively – with cars that they can make in the Far East or Central and Eastern Europe at much lower labor expenses than is possible at our German plants.”
“Volkswagen will continue to make cars in Germany in the future”, added Rosik. “We can only be successful if we find the right solutions together. More than ever before, this means that we need to keep costs under control.”
Negotiations were set to continue on February 12th, 2015. Stay tuned as we learn more.