Speaking to employees, Volkswagen Board Member for Human Resources Gunnar Kilian said: “One of the reasons I have come to Chemnitz today is because, as a citizen of this country, I find the scenes of the last few days deeply shocking. And I have also come here to make it very clear that the Chemnitz plant is part of the Volkswagen family. We have invested here and will continue to do so. That is why what happens in this city is important to the Group Board of Management. One thing is certain: at Volkswagen, we do not tolerate discrimination. We respect social rights, we embrace diversity. What happened outside the factory gates goes against all of Volkswagen’s basic values. Admittedly, it is sometimes difficult to resist the lure of populism. That makes it all the more important to raise awareness against the slogans, to educate, to appeal to reason. At Volkswagen, we do that together: the company, the Works Council members and the employee representatives. Let us make sure there are no new walls. That must be our mission!”
Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the General Works Council, said: “Volkswagen’s workforce stands for tolerance, openness and solidarity with one another. There is no room for xenophobia, hate, exclusion and persecution on our company. Our task as trade unionists is to speak out against holistic, right-wing and anti-democratic agitation. That specifically holds true for each and every one of us. But we must also call on democratic politicians to finally do their homework: future perspectives for employment along with decent pensions, fair wages and good jobs along with affordable housing and internal security — these are the issues that must be addressed to strengthen social cohesion.”
Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Board Member for Components, said: “For our employees at the Chemnitz engine plant, the coexistence of different nationalities and cultures is a given: in an international network of 56 component plants on four continents, they collaborate extremely successfully with colleagues from China or Brazil, Hungary or the Czech Republic. Over 150 experienced international colleagues are currently working here in Chemnitz to help us manage the good order situation. Examples like these demonstrate that there is no place for exclusion here at Volkswagen in Chemnitz or at all other locations. And that makes us proud!”
Employees on the plant’s early and normal shift, along with Board of Management members and employee representatives from other Volkswagen factories in Germany attended the spontaneous gathering at the Chemnitz engine plant organized by the Works Council and the plant management. The Chemnitz plant has a workforce of some 1,800, including people from Afghanistan, Cuba, Mexico, Nigeria, Ukraine, Hungary and Vietnam. It takes deliveries from suppliers in 29 countries. Almost half of the engines built in Chemnitz are shipped to destinations outside Germany.