Volkswagen’s senior board is meeting this week with the company’s works council to agree on its future investment and production capacity in the wake of the emissions scandal.
Matthias Müller, VW chief executive and Bernd Osterloh, chairman of the group works council will be in talks over the next 10 days “in order to find a common path for the future of the company”.
Müller said: “In the present difficult situation we must jointly make decisions that factor in economics just as much as employment.
“I attach great importance to the views and experience of our works councils. In light of the changed circumstances, we are facing an ambitious task. We will be prioritizing forward-looking products and technologies. Osterloh and I agree that this is the key factor for reliably safeguarding both the future success of our company and employment.”
It is currently unclear whether the crisis the company is facing will mean redundancies and cancelled model launches in order to save money. VW is currently offering affected customers in the US up to $1,000 in vouchers as a way of compensation and the scandal is expected to cost the company billions of pounds. VW has already set aside £1.4bn due to the discovery of CO2 irregularities on 800,000 vehicles, an issue seperate to the US NOx emissions scandal.
Germany’s transport ministry has said Volkswagen is also likely to need to make more than just software changes to nearly a quarter of the 2.4 million diesel cars being recalled in the country. The ministry told the Associated Press on Monday that of the vehicles being recalled for fixes in Germany, the Federal Motor Transport Authority “currently expects that approximately 540,000 will also need hardware changes”. Some analysts estimate the total cost of the scandal to come to over £23.2bn.
Osterloh said: “Müller will personally take charge of cooperation between the board of management and the works council.
“That is a strong signal for the workforce. We will join him on the road to the future because we believe he is a reliable partner. We are seeking shared decisions in the interest of the company, shareholders and employees. The challenges are enormous, but the workforce will stand behind the company as long as we succeed in agreeing on a balanced package of investments, economy measures and forward-looking projects. The discussions between Müller and myself have laid the foundation for that.”