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Audi extends flexible working deal

Ingolstadt, Germany. Audi's directors and its employees' representatives have agreed to extend the so-called Future Audi contract.

The employment agreement gives Audi a more flexible work-time structure that can reduce unit wage costs.

In exchange, Audi gave 45,000 employees in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm job guarantees until 2011 plus higher profit sharing payouts.

As part of the deal, Audi can run some Saturday shifts without paying overtime rates. Until employees accrue a balance of about 250 hours in a flextime account, they don't get paid overtime rates for a Saturday shift. Instead, those employees are credited with 90 minutes for each Saturday shift.

Under the original deal, flextime accounts had to be settled within a year. But now they can be evened out over several years.

Audi will also introduce a new compensation system in January 2007. First expert committees will revalue all jobs to develop a "more performance related" payment system. Existing wages will not be changed. But new employees will probably earn less.

The works council had to make most compromises within the service sector. For approximately 1,000 employees, the current 35-hour work week will be extended in stages to a 37-hour week by 2007.

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