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Supplier GKN introduces in-house contact following strike

Zwickau. "We will suffer from the consequences of the IG-Metall strikes for a long time," said Rolf Osterried, chairman of the German GKN Driveline management board.

The loss of turnover at the Zwickau plant -- the strikes lasted for 13 days -- is "approximately 25 percent," Osterried said.

In addition, Osterried expects an increase in staff expenses of up to 12 percent as a result of a working-hour agreement with the trade union and additional overtime.

Due to "high pressure" from its customer Audi and other European manufacturers -- some of whom had threatened to withdraw their orders -- the drivetrain manufacturer decided "overnight" to quit the Verband der Metall- und Elektreoindustrie (Association for the Metal and Electrics Industry) and to introduce an in-house contract.

By 2009, a 35-hour week will be introduced step by step. This was the only way for GKN to stop the strikes and to prevent losing the contract with Audi.

"If Audi had acted similar to BMW, GKN would still be a member," the association announced.

BMW stopped the production of the 3 series when ZF Brandenburg was unable to supply the necessary transmissions.

Despite additional shifts and weekend work, GKN has not caught up with the losses. Osterried said that production should be back to normal in three weeks at the earliest.

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