All six German Volkswagen plants will stop for one hour today while the workers hold meetings to discuss changes to the VW Law and Porsche’s plans for worker representation within its new holding company, and the impact that will have if Porsche raises its stake to more than 50% of VW.

The VW works council is concerned that Porsche Holding SE, a new umbrella organisation for Porsche shares in Porsche and Volkswagen Group, does not give the Volkswagen works council as much representation on its board as it currently has on the Volkswagen board. The works council wants to put pressure on Volkswagen’s largest shareholder, Porsche, to negotiate over this issue.

Porsche, with many fewer workers (12,000 employees), will have the same representation on the holding company board as Volkswagen (324,000 employees).

Yesterday workers representatives from Volkswagen and Porsche met to discuss the issue but failed to come to any agreement.

The issue has become more pertinent since the European Court of Justice overturned the so-called Volkswagen Law, which has limited voting rights of any shareholder to 20%, regardless of how many shares they hold. This has effectively given workers a lot more control in major decision-making, since one of the shareholders is the state of Lower Saxony, which has an interest in maintaining employment levels in the state.

As a result Volkswagen has much lower levels of outsourcing than its competitors and still produces many components in-house, and outsourcing more could give a new Porsche management an opportunity to improve efficiency at Volkswagen, and thus generate a good return on its investment.