“Our transformation into a sustainable, software-centric mobility company requires Volkswagen to maintain its strict cost discipline so that the company can continue to invest in its future viability and hence in secure, attractive jobs,” commented Volkswagen AG’s chief negotiator Arne Meiswinkel after the second round of negotiations had concluded in Wolfsburg.
Meiswinkel underlined that the present crises are also having an impact on Volkswagen and will further exacerbate the challenges the company is already facing: “Energy and raw material prices are still heading north. We are also keeping a close eye on the deteriorating economic situation and how this affects inflation.” To overcome these challenges, he said it was imperative that the current difficult economic conditions and the resulting global uncertainty be taken into consideration in the collective bargaining.
“For Volkswagen, competitiveness and job security are two sides of the same coin,” Meiswinkel added. “As a responsible employer, we offer a wide range of voluntary benefits for employees and secure jobs with a high social standard even during crises.”
Regarding the collective agreement on partial retirement that is about to expire, Meiswinkel explained, “We have used partial retirement very successfully at Volkswagen AG for decades and plan to continue doing so. Whereas in the past partial retirement was primarily used as a tool for safeguarding jobs, now we will harness it to accelerate our transformation. This requires using this instrument in a different way – something which is absolutely fundamental, particularly in view of the growing shortage of skilled labor and the continuous evolution of fields of work and forward-looking areas.” The collective agreement on partial retirement is due to expire on December 31, 2022.
In addition to partial retirement, Meiswinkel said that Volkswagen also planned to tailor its vocational training more closely to future requirements. “Volkswagen is committed to vocational training. To make our transformation successful in the long term, counteract the shortage of skilled workers and promote loyalty to the company among young talent from an early stage, it is essential to align the allocation of annual apprenticeships with our future needs.” This was also on the agenda of today’s collective bargaining, he pointed out.
The next round of negotiations will take place on November 22, 2022. The duty to refrain from industrial action ends on November 30, 2022.
Volkswagen AG’s collective bargaining agreement applies to around 125,000 workers at the plants in Wolfsburg, Braunschweig, Hanover, Salzgitter, Emden and Kassel and also covers employees at Volkswagen Financial Services AG, Volkswagen Immobilien GmbH and dx.one GmbH.