GERMANY: Karmann employees protest at possible job losses
More than 2,000 employees at Karmann went on strike on Tuesday in protest at plans to reduce the workforce by at least 1,100 jobs, according to auto motor und sport's website.
Kamann currently employees around 5,300 people at its plant in Osnabrück, which assembles vehicles and produces roof systems.
Long term, employee representatives are also concerned that Karmann will transfer some roof production to Poland. A decision on whether Karmann will set up a plant in Poland is expected this week.
Karmann has imposed short-time working on around 1,500 employees in the vehicle assembly plant under an agreement to save jobs that expires at the end of June 2006. Karmann was hit by a shortfall in demand for the Chrysler Crossfire - the US is taking no 2006 models though some are being built for European sale. A Karmann spokesperson told auto motor und sport that the company has already begun talks with unions about what to do when the agreement expires.
Karmann's vehicle assembly operations are losing out to OEMs becoming more flexible and moving niche vehicle production in-house. Mercedes-Benz already decided that the CLK successor will be built in its own plant in Bremen, rather than in Osnabruck, and there are doubts that Audi will award Karmann a contract to assemble the next A4 Cabriolet as it has the expertise to build the car in-house.