Trying to avoid a strike in Brazil, Volkswagen AG is offering some 2,000 workers threatened with layoffs two years’ salary to voluntarily leave their jobs, Dow Jones reported.

Workers, who are fighting Volkswagen’s plan to dissolve a total of nearly 4, 000 jobs at its Taubate and Sao Bernardo do Campo plants near Sao Paulo, will vote on the offer on Friday, the report said.

Noting that the average monthly salary of a Volkswagen worker in Brazil is 1,200 reals (about $US400), Dow Jones said Volkswagen is offering to pay up to 1,923 workers 20 months’ salary plus 40% of their salaries for each year worked for the company.

Volkswagen also offered the workers, who were supposed to leave their jobs on Wednesday, the option of taking a month paid leave until November 11 to consider entering a transition programme that would help them find work somewhere else, the report added.

Dow Jones noted that the German car maker, one of the top three in Brazil’s $US20 billion-a-year automotive sector, announced in August that it would trim local payrolls by 16% by moving 3,933 workers into transition programmes. Technically, the workers would stay on the payroll until current labour contracts expire, in February 2004 at Taubate, and in November 2006 at Sao Bernardo do Campo, the news agency added.

Dow Jones added that the job cuts were postponed from September 1, because of resistance from the powerful metalworkers union that represents VW workers, and that Wednesday’s compromise offer is the latest move in VW’s struggle to trim payrolls and avoid a strike.

Volkswagen’s plants in Brazil are operating at little more than half capacity after a long-running slump in car sales worsened this year, Dow Jones said.