Volkswagen and the IG Metall trade union have been holding a fifth round of wage negotiations. The union has threatened a series of warning strikes if there is no deal soon. Before the talks, a senior VW executive said the company has new proposals on job security for workers at its six plants in western Germany. Chief union negotiator Hartmut Meine seemed frustrated by the process. He said: “VW wasted the previous session by aggressively rejecting IG Metall’s suggestions which astonished us, so now we’re expecting the management to move more towards our position and start some constructive negotiations.”
The urgency of the situation facing Europe’s largest car maker was underlined by the latest quarterly profit figures just released which showed a seventh consecutive decline. Turnover so far this year was 67.4 billion euros, but profits in that period fell by 44% to 765 million euros. VW wants to achieve a 30% reduction in labour costs by 2011 and has warned that 30,000 jobs may be at risk. The union has backed off its original demand for a 4% wage rise but still wants job guarantees.