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Union threatens to cripple Volkswagen vehicle production in pay dispute

Besides 6 percent pay demand, the union is also pushing for improvements in VW's corporate pension scheme

Reuters  |  BERLIN 

Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 it had used illegal software to cheat US diesel emissions tests, sparking the biggest business crisis in its 80 year history
Photo: PTI

German union threatened on Thursday to cripple vehicle production at if top executives at Europe's biggest carmaker continue to block sizeable pay increases for German staff.

is incensed about an offer proposed by Volkswagen's (VW) management on Tuesday which the union said would raise pay for 120,000 staff at western German plants by no more than 2.2 percent over 12 months, about a third of the 6 percent it is seeking.

After three rounds of fruitless bargaining, more than 20,000 workers at VW's main on Thursday walked off their shifts for two hours, staging the first warning strikes at VW since 2004, said, adding thousands more staff at five other German VW plants joined in the protests.

"If necessary we will bring half the to a standstill," said at a rally at the Wolfsburg plant, referring to the global carmaker's German operations.

"We will not hesitate to plan further warning strikes," Osterloh said. "And those would hit the just as much as the component sites which deliver engines, transmissions and parts to the entire group."

Besides the 6 percent pay demand, is also pushing for improvements in VW's corporate pension scheme and more hiring of apprentices to help cope with an industry shift to electric vehicles and

But VW, facing billions of euros in costs and fines over its diesel emissions-test cheating scandal and huge investments for its subsequent transformation plan, has dismissed the demands and called for a wage agreement with a "sense of proportion".

The carmaker does not expect the disruptions on Thursday to impact delivery commitments, a VW said, without elaborating.

The in-house pay dispute at VW coincides with IG Metall's efforts across to push for a 6-percent wage increase for about 3.9 million workers in the country's and engineering industry.

Thousands of workers on Thursday began a second day of 24-hour strikes also affecting and VW's Porsche brand.

First Published: Thu, February 01 2018. 21:34 IST