Following Zwickau, Volkswagen intends to change its plants at Emden and Hannover in Germany over to the production of electric vehicles. After Zwickau, Volkswagen is therefore establishing its second e-mobility centre in Germany in Lower Saxony.
VW Group CEO Dr Herbert Diess said: “Volkswagen is implementing its electric offensive consistently. We are orienting the company towards clean mobility. This way, we are also ensuring sustainable prospects for the future of the two plants.” At a works meeting held on Wednesday in Emden, HR Board Member Gunnar Kilian outlined the principles of the project to employees.
In Hannover, the chairman of the Brand Board of Management of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Dr Thomas Sedran, presented the plans. The orientation towards the production of innovative electric vehicles is part of the plant allocation plans on which the Supervisory Board will decide in Wolfsburg on Friday.
“We are moving at full speed into the production of electric vehicles. Emden and Hannover are to be further model plants in Germany. Together with Zwickau, they will form the largest network for the production of electric vehicles in Europe,” said Gunnar Kilian. On the basis of these plans, Emden will already produce electric vehicles from 2022. In Hannover, models of the electrically powered ID Buzz family will probably be produced from 2022 together with conventionally powered vehicles. Thomas Sedran said: “This way, we are safeguarding the future of the Hannover plant and employment. All in all, we are making Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles fit for the transformation of our industry.”
Production of the models currently manufactured at Emden and Hannover is to be transferred step-by step to other Group plants against the backdrop of the reinforcement of the electric offensive. Details of plant allocation are to be decided on by the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen on Friday.
For the Emden and Hannover plants, an employment guarantee up to 2028 was agreed for the transformation phase. Gunnar Kilian: “This offers security for the employees during the transformation. However, fewer production steps are involved in making an electric vehicle, we will need fewer employees in the final resort. We have therefore agreed with the Works Councils that the current employment volume will be adapted in a socially compatible way along the demographic curve via the attractive partial early retirement scheme of Volkswagen.”
The Works Council Chairman of the Emden plant, Manfred Wulff, said: “The automotive industry and Volkswagen are undergoing the greatest transformation in their history and the Emden plant is at the forefront. In a few years’ time, first-class electric vehicles will already roll off the production line here – as with all products from Emden, they will be produced by highly qualified colleagues. The employment guarantee up to 2028 will give employees and their families security; the transition to e-mobility offers clear prospects for the future. The requirements stated by the Works Council have finally been met. We will, therefore, be able to make our plant fit for the future as regards employment, climate protection and economic viability.”
It will not be possible to provide long-term employment for temporary employees at the Emden plant in the future and to offer them permanent employment contracts here. “We all know that a long-term relocation to another place of work is by no means an easy step”, said Kilian. He emphasized: “It was important for Volkswagen to offer all temporary employees long-term employment prospects within the Group. This is why we can offer you permanent employment contracts at the Porsche plants in Zuffenhausen, Ludwigsburg and Sachsenheim and, to some extent, also at the Volkswagen plant in Kassel.
Bertina Murkovic, chairperson of the Works Council of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and member of the Volkswagen General Works Council, said: “With this agreement, we have laid the foundations for shaping the transformation in the automotive industry and indicating prospects for employees. Especially the agreement concerning an employment guarantee for the permanent workforce up to the end of 2028 is a great success in troubled times. With this agreement, key future technologies will also come to our plant. These will mean that we have a far better position in the future as regards capacity utilisation thanks to considerably higher flexibility in plant allocation. The new technologies can, therefore, provide a sustained impetus. All in all, the plant agreement is a far-sighted result.”