Seat plans to slash production at its Martorell, Barcelona, factory by 10% to 400,000 cars will include scrapping the number two assembly line’s afternoon shift, a move that will affect at least 200 people, workers’ committee chief Matias Cornero told just-auto.

Seat is suffering from low demand for its cars in Europe and Spain, Carnero said. The company believes that Martorell is overstaffed by 800 workers and has proposed a salary-reduction plan, which will be specified when management meets with unions, Carnero added.

“They say they want to keep the workers, but not at the current cost levels,” Carnero said, adding that Seat has pledged to transfer some of line two’s workers to line one or other manufacturing posts.

Line two makes the Leon, while line one (which is set to increase capacity by 100 cars a day) assembles the Ibiza and Cordoba.

Despite its problems Seat “is not for sale,” Carnero said, confirming the company’s earlier dismissal of German reports about owner Volkswagen’s desire to sell the “underperforming” company to a Chinese rival.

Rather than allowing Seat to cut salaries, unions are proposing that it dismiss 3,400 workers of ‘pre-retirement’ age. Seat pays only 15% of those workers’ salaries while the state’s pension programme pays the rest, Carnero noted.

Adding to its woes, Seat is to idle the Ibiza and recently launched Altea’s production line between December 5 and 9. The move follows a one-week stoppage in September to reduce Altea and Tolelo stock, and a 10-day Altea production cut in April.

Ivan Castano