The 2012/03/28 at 05:40
Marie Luginsland, à Spire
Replacing General Motors by 2018 on the podium as the world’s leading automobile manufacturer: this is the ambition of the German group Volkswagen. To get there, it must soon be able to produce 10 million vehicles per year, according to Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen at the start of March when presenting the group’s 2011 results. The only way for the German manufacturer behind brands including VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Scania and MAN to meet this goal is to make new investments in qualified labour. Beefing up recruitment campaigns, current global staff levels of 502,000 persons (275,000 overseas, 225,000 in Germany) are set to swell to 550,000 by 2016. “We are creating 4,000 to 5,000 jobs in Germany,” promises Horst Neumann, the group’s Human Resources Chief. He nevertheless admits that focus will be placed on international hiring, and that the current share of overseas staff numbers will move up from 55% to 57%.
On overseas sites, almost 45,000 jobs are to be created in the next four years, while already 17,000 new positions (including 6,000 in China) were created in 2011. Volkswagen, to which 75,000 persons were added following the takeover of the heavy-duty manufacturer MAN and the Porsche holding in Salzburg, recently created 11,000 jobs on German soil. The group has met with the approval of unions even more so as it has also hired 3,300 temporary workers, 3,500 apprentices and 10,000 young graduates. “Volkswagen has anticipated our current demands that consist in giving apprentices permanent contracts,” points out Uwe Stoffregen, Head of the automobile sector for the IG Metall union in Lower Saxony, the fief of Volkswagen. The all-powerful metallurgical union nevertheless continues to uphold its demand for a 6.5% salary rise for the group’s sites in Germany, as for the whole of the automobile branch.
While employer unions have criticised these demands – as may be expected in the game of negotiations –, it should be noted that demands arise in a context of labour shortage. “We are looking for young people to take over and MAN is also hiring,” confirms a Volkswagen spokesperson. For while Martin Winterkorn’s salary doubled in 2011, to 17.4 million euros, his employees have also recently been in for a treat. While the Daimler group only distributed a 4,100-euro bonus, the 90,000 or so VW employees have just been paid a 7,500-euro bonus (those at Audi, 8,250 euros) due to an exceptional 2011. A little reminder: last year, 8.5 million vehicles were sold and profits doubled, to 16 billion euros.