One week after the start of a strike to force Volkswagen to increase the profit it shares with workers, 5,000 staff at the automaker’s Taubaté plant have returned to work.

But about 13,000 workers at the São Bernardo do Campo car plant and São Carlos engine factory remain idle.

Without engines made in São Carlos, the only VW factory not on strike, at São José dos Pinhais, still had to halt output.

Last Thursday, the automaker initially gave two days of compulsory vacation to all 4,500 workers of the São José dos Pinhais plant because of a lack of engines and then extended the holidays to Monday.

On Tuesday the factory restarted – building Fox Europe models that have engines imported from Europe. But production of the Fox Europe with Brazilian-made engine and assembly of the Fox, Crossfox and Golf models for Brazil remains stopped.

Taubaté, meanwhile, has resumed at reduced volume using engine stocks on hand.

The strike there ended when workers accepted a VW offer to pay $R5,000 ($US2,125) per worker subject to an agreed production volume being reached in 2005. Work days lost will be made up by the end of this year.

Workers originally asked for $R5,500 profit share per employee, while VW countered with $R4,700.

Unions at São Bernardo do Campo and São Carlos are still holding out for the full amount after negotiations with VW which said it had now lost 12,000 cars and 9,000 engines because of the strike.

In a statement, the automaker accused the São Bernardo do Campo union of being out of control.

The union responded that Volkswagen was demanding an unachievable output to trigger the profit share payout to workers.

Rogério Louro