After fierce demonstrations by workers at Volkswagen's Brussels plant, Golf production may not cease quite as quickly as previously announced.

 

The plant may produce around 60,000 cars next year, allowing production to continue until the autumn, according to Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhostadt, speaking on Belgian television at the weekend.

 

Workers at a number of Volkswagen plants demonstrated on Saturday against the decision to concentrate Golf production in Wolfsburg and Zwickau and cease producing the car in Brussels. Some 4,000 out of 5,400 jobs are under threat. Although Volkswagen has confirmed that the Audi A1 will be built at the plant from 2009, unions are skeptical until the deal has been signed and investment put into place.

 

Unions said that 25,000 people took part at plants in Germany while German police say they counted 15,000 demonstrators.

 

There is also some uncertainly about what will happen between 2007 when Golf production ceases and 2009 when production of the Audi A1 is due to start. Verhofstadt reportedly said that the 60,000 Golfs to be produced at the plant next year would help ensure that production ceased gradually.

 

However, discussions to this effect still have to take place.

 

Unions in Belgium remain angry. One union representative said that the plant was productive and competitive and that the blind restructuring of Volkswagen will hit Brussels, which has 20% unemployment, particularly hard. More than 90% of VW Brussels workers are members of unions.