Volkswagen Group makes 10 million vehicles per year with twice as many people as its neck-and-neck competitor Toyota — with predictably meager results. To boost profits, the German carmaker wants to do the job with 30,000 fewer people, the company announced Friday in presenting a ”future pact” with its unions. Why did the unions say ja? Because the plan is not quite the “cutting to the bone” that Germany’s Handelsblatt and Seeking Alpha are making it out to be. At closer inspection, the plan signals who’s in charge in Wolfsburg: The unions.
“Today’s best news is that the works council has achieved a job guarantee through 2025,” said a burly Bernd Osterloh today at a press conference in Volkswagen’s hometown Wolfsburg, Germany. “That’s nine years without worrying about losing the job.” Osterloh, a member of the IG Metall metalworkers union, heads Volkswagen’s works council. He is also vice chairman of Volkswagen’s Supervisory Board.