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Volkswagen workers in Brussels call off wildcat strike

Volkswagen workers in Brussels call off wildcat strike

Workers at Volkswagen's Brussels plant called off a wildcat strike Saturday after the company gave a written guarantee that it will keep making cars there after it sheds thousands of jobs this year and next.
Socialist trade union members walked off the job late Wednesday, angry at delays in negotiations on severance packages for those losing jobs at the plant, which current employs some 5,000 people. Other unions did not join them, but the strike action brought all production to a halt at the plant.
They have now agreed to return to work on Monday after Volkswagen confirmed that the plant would start making the Audi A1 in 2009, keeping on up to 3,000 workers after it phases out the existing production run of its Golf model.
The German carmaker is shifting Golf assembly to two German plants as part of a restructuring that could cost a further 20,000 jobs across Europe.
"We got a written guarantee that the Audi A1 will come here. In 2007-2008 we can make 84,000 cars and there will be 100,000 in 2009," trade union spokesman Jan Vanderpoorten told VRT broadcast news.
This is less than half of the 204,000 vehicles the Belgian plant currently turns out every year, most of them Golfs.
Normal shift-work at the plant only resumed Jan. 8 after a seven-week strike over planned layoffs. The job cuts came as a shock to the workers and to political leaders and was another big blow to efforts to keep Belgium's carmaking sector intact despite government efforts to keep car plants open.
A Ford plant in the eastern city of Genk shed 3,000 jobs four years ago and 3,100 jobs were lost in 1997 when Renault shut its plant just outside Brussels.


Updated : 2021-05-13 01:41 GMT+08:00