WOLFSBURG - Volkswagen will hire more workers because of strong demand for the new Passat.
Buyers have to wait seven months for the cars. The factory in Mosel will hire 500-1,000 new workers so that it can raise production from 432 Passats a day now to 750 in 1998. The factory currently employs 2,500 people.
Another factory, in Emden, north Germany, will add 400 temporary employees to the 9,000 already working there. The temporary jobs will last from six to 18 months and will pay 10 percent less than the average worker gets in western Germany.
The union IG Metall has agreed to the pay provision. Workers in Mosel, in eastern Germany, are paid less than those in what was formerly West Germany.
The announcements came during annual negotiations with the union.
IG Metall had threatened to stop overtime work if no new jobs were created. Union negotiator Juergen Peters said VW wanted to boost productivity by 35 percent in the next five years.
This would cost 4,000-6,000 jobs in the six factories in western Germany.
He demanded better early retirement schemes. The negotiations will resume on 15 May.
Most VW workers are still on a four-day week or similar schemes. But the total order backlog at VW was 40 percent higher in the first quarter than a year ago, sales director Robert Buechelhofer said a few weeks ago.