German supplier moves to Poland

Emden. German wiring harness supplier Draexlmaier is moving its entire production from Vilsbiburg, Germany to Poland to cut costs.

The company supplies harnesses for the Passat assembled at Volkswagen AG's Emden plant. It plans to make the move in spring 2005.

Company spokesman Ruediger Markl confirmed the reason for the move was the significantly lower wages in Poland.

Around 120 of the 160-strong workforce will lose their jobs In the past few years the company, which used to employ 460 people, has had to give up large parts of its cable harness production to Tunsia and Poland.

Helge Thiel, deputy head of the Draexlmaier vehicle electrics works council, doubted that the transfer was an economic necessity.

He said staff felt cheated. In February 2004 management promised to give the new VW Passat contract to the Emden plant. The works council believes that the remaining 40 jobs within the logistics sector are also very much in danger.

The works council meanwhile has started negotiations over a redundancy payment scheme with Draexlmaier's board of directors.

Two of the council's main demands are to extend the notice period by two months per employment year, and that employees should qualify after 24 months.

To ensure continuing supply to the VW plant in the case of a strike Draexlmaier employed a subcontractor to handle the logistics. Material from the Emden plant was secretly taken to a warehouse at the harbor. Staff reacted to this with two warning strikes.

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