About 9,000 workers at a DaimlerChrysler plant in Stuttgart stopped work for a half-hour on Friday in a protest against proposals by the automaker’s management to cut costs, labor officials told the Associated Press (AP).

AP noted that DaimlerChrysler is in talks with its German workers as it seeks €500 million ($US615 million) per year in cost savings – the talks are necessary because the company wants to depart from an existing region-wide labour contract.

The workers at the Untertuerkheim plant took time out Friday to attend an information meeting held by their representatives, the report added.

“What is taking place at DaimlerChrysler has social and political effects,” the chief employee representative at the factory, Helmut Lense, told the Associated Press. “We must send a signal and show that we can secure production work on the basis of our labour contract.”

According to AP, a key element of the talks is whether German workers will get to build upcoming models of the company’s Mercedes-Benz C-Class and a proposed four-cylinder diesel engine – cost-cutting proposals include reducing paid break time, shift differentials and annual bonuses, employee representatives have said.

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Employees at the Untertuerkheim plant hope to be given the work of producing the new diesel engine, AP said.

A nationwide day of protest for DaimlerChrysler employees reportedly is set for next Thursday – the talks don’t involve workers outside Germany.