Volkswagen employees to work longer hours without salary increase

Volkswagen (VW) workers at the automaker's six plants in Germany have agreed to work an additional four hours every week without increase in pay.

In exchange for now working 33 hours a week, up from 28.5 hours, the 100,000 workers have been guaranteed job security until 2011. The company had offered redundancy packages to 85,000 staff in the region, but compulsory redundancies have now been ruled out until 2012.

The automaker had been seeking a 35-hour week without extra pay to cut production costs to meet stiff competition from cheaper Asian carmakers. VW had made plans to cut up to 20,000 jobs in Germany and shift production of its flagship Golf hatchback from its plant in Wolfsburg.

Now, as part of the agreement VW has agreed to run the Wolfsburg plant to its full capacity of 460,000 cars per year and introduce another high-volume model, possibly the next generation of its flagship model Golf.

Though the Golf has strong sales, the company says it brings in little profit. The Volkswagen Group also manufactures the SEAT, Audi and Skoda brands.