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Belgian PM appeals to workers to end strike at Volkswagen plant

Belgian PM appeals to workers to end strike at Volkswagen plant

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt on Friday appealed to workers at Volkswagen AG's Belgian plant to drop their wildcat strike action and get back to work.
He called the strike action, which started late Wednesday, "unjustifiable" in the wake of continuing negotiations between unions and management over the future of the factory.
"What they are doing is risking the rescue plan," Verhofstadt told VRT radio. "I think many of the union workers are not behind this strike and the strikers are playing with fire."
Workers from socialist unions at the plant walked off the job, angry at delays in negotiations on severance packages for those losing jobs at the plant. Other unions did not join them, but the strike action has brought all production to a halt at the plant.
Employment Minister Peter Vanvelthoven appointed a mediator to help resolve the labor dispute and to put talks between unions and management back on track.
The striking unions want written guarantees from the German carmaker that it will keep its plant open, and confirmation that it will start production of a new Audi model at the factory by 2009.
Normal shift-work at the plant only resumed Jan. 8 after a seven-week strike over planned layoffs. Volkswagen said it was cutting 3,000 jobs at the factory and phasing out production of its Golf model.
The German carmaker said that up to 3,000 workers could produce the new Audi car there, partly compensating for the job cuts.


Updated : 2021-04-13 16:31 GMT+08:00