Strike cost VW 22,000 cars, BMW 10,800 vehicles

Berlin. Though strikes for the introduction of the 35-hour week in eastern Germany ended earlier than expected, carmakers and suppliers suffered sizeable production losses and are now dealing with the consequences.

Volkswagen announced production losses of approximately 22,000 vehicles. IG Metall strikes took place at all three East German VW plants. At the Dresden plant workers went on strike for 10 days, which resulted in the loss of 350 Phaetons.

The strike at VW's Mosel plant, which lasted 17 days, resulted in production losses equivalent to 17,800 Golfs and Passats. As a result of supply bottlenecks Golf and Bora production at VW's main Wolfsburg plant was also interrupted -- a loss of 4,000 cars. The company's Chemnitz plant produced 57,800 fewer engines.

At BMW the equivalent of 10,800 cars was lost. Production of the 3 series was stopped because the transmission manufacturer ZF in Brandenburg was unable to supply 6,000 transmissions. ZF workers now work in three shifts from Monday to Friday and also over the weekend to reduce the backlog as quickly as possible. BMW hopes that production will have fully recovered by the end of 2003.

BMW lost six working days, but it is not clear yet if additional shifts will have to be introduced. The company will stick to the collective tariff agreement for its Leipzig plant, which is still under construction. This sets a 38-hour work week.

Porsche has decided to introduce an in-house contract at its plant in Leipzig. From the August 1, 2003 employees will work 38 instead of 40 hours.

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