Bernd Osterloh, head of the Volkswagen works council, has told a German newspaper that he is ready to discuss returning to a 35-hour week (it is currently 28.8 hours) with Volkswagen management, and will take part in negotiations to reduce personnel costs.

But there is a condition.

Osterloh told the newspaper that he wants to know how the company will use the money saved to ensure the long-term survival of the company, according to finanzen.net.

He is concerned, for example, that savings could be wasted on a bad engineering idea. He quoted the example of all four wheels being able to turn during parking. In that case he says all the money would be gone, the company wouldn't have sold any more cars and the workers would take the rap. This is not something the workers would go along with, he maintains.

Osterloh added the labour costs for the Golf are 11% of the total costs. He says he is simply asking that management pay as much attention to the remaining 89% of costs. "It is not the workers' fault that it takes 50 hours to assemble the Golf," he said.

Separately Bernd Pischetsrieder, CEO of Volkswagen, has told the Automotive News Europe congress in Vienna that he wants negotiations with unions to be concluded by the end of July.

Pischetrsrieder suggested that Volkswagen cars are too expensive for the market, saying that customers are not will to be extra for add-on technology. "We have 59 plants, too low volume and too few customers," he said, according to dpa-AFX news.

He confirmed recent media reports that Volkswagen is considering relocating Fox production from Brazil back to Europe, although at the moment the investment required to do this is too high.