Thursday 22 March 2018

VW boss warns workers of pain to come over emissions scandal

Matthias Mueller vowed that 'we will overcome this crisis' but said it 'would not happen without pain' (AP)
Matthias Mueller vowed that 'we will overcome this crisis' but said it 'would not happen without pain' (AP)

Volkswagen's new chief executive has told more than 20,000 gathered workers that the company will have to review planned investments and contain costs as it works to overcome a scandal over vehicles that cheated on emissions tests.

Matthias Mueller vowed that "we will overcome this crisis" but said it "would not happen without pain".

He told the meeting at the company's sprawling home plant in Wolfsburg, Germany, that the company would have to put its future investments in plants, technology and vehicles "under scrutiny" to spend only what was needed to maintain a leading edge.

He told concerned workers that "we will do everything to ensure that Volkswagen will stand for good and secure jobs in the future as well".

Volkswagen faces fines and lost sales after US environmental regulators found it had installed software that disabled pollution controls when the vehicle was not on the testing stand.

The company has set aside 6.5 billion euro (£4.8 billion) to cover costs but analysts say that is unlikely to be enough.

Mr Mueller said some of the cars - more than 11 million worldwide - could be fixed by adjusting the software, while others would need mechanical fixes.

Volkswagen has until Wednesday to give German regulators a binding timetable that sets out when it will have a fix for the cars in the country and by when it can be implemented.

Volkswagen's chief employee representative said that the emissions-rigging scandal will not have an effect on jobs for the time being.

Bernd Osterloh said that it is not possible to say today "whether and how this wrongdoing could affect our jobs in the medium and long term".

But he said for now there will be "no consequences for jobs", including those of temporary workers.

Mr Osterloh acknowledged that recovering from the scandal will not be painless.

But he said the employee council "will watch carefully that this crisis, which was caused by a circle of managers, is not settled on the backs of employees".

"We assume that, for reasons of decency, the management board's bonus will in case of doubt fall in the same way as the workforce's bonus."

Press Association

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