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VW boss Herbert Diess provokes works council - Daniela Cavallo speaks of "unprecedented behavior"


Scandal at Volkswagen: Instead of facing the workforce at a works meeting, CEO Herbert Diess flies to investors in the USA. The new head of the works council, Daniela Cavallo, is outraged.

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Works council chief Daniela Cavallo: "This provocation shows us that Mr. Diess still has no interest in constructive cooperation."

Photo: Swen Pförtner / dpa

Right before a supervisory board meeting, VW boss Herbert Diess started a dispute with the workforce.

In a public statement on Tuesday evening, the Volkswagen employee representatives accused Diess of not answering questions from the workforce of the Wolfsburg car plant at a works meeting scheduled for November 4th.

Diess had announced that it would travel to the USA for talks with investors.

"This behavior is unprecedented in the history of our group and shows once again that the CEO has neither empathy nor feeling for the situation of the workforce, even in this crisis," explained works council boss Daniela Cavallo.

Diess itself invited to an event in Wolfsburg this Thursday to inform the workforce about the Group's transformation towards electromobility.

A VW spokesman said the trip to the USA, where Diess wants to meet with investors, politicians and employees, had been scheduled a long time ago and could not be canceled at short notice. Cavallo, who had replaced the long-time works council chairman Bernd Osterloh in May, held against Diess for evading the answers in front of the assembled workforce and instead scheduling a dialogue event based on his own script. "This provocation shows us that Mr. Diess still has no interest in constructive cooperation." The CEO should end his personal profiling via the media and "kindly" answer the questions of the workforce unsettled by short-time work as a result of the chip crisis on November 4th. In his place, CFO Arno Antlitz should travel to the USA.

The conflict between Diess and the employee representatives should also be a topic at a supervisory board meeting this Wednesday.

It is not surprising that it is escalating right now.

The capacity utilization of the main plant in Wolfsburg has reached a record low due to the lack of computer chips.

In addition, Diess provoked already at a supervisory board meeting in September with number games, according to which 30,000 jobs could be saved, and pointed out that the American competitor Tesla produces its e-cars with significantly less personnel than VW.

Memories of Osterloh

On November 12, the Supervisory Board will decide in the so-called planning round how VW will distribute its billions in investments up to 2026 - and where the individual models will be produced. This regularly leads to distribution battles between the individual brands and locations. The transition from combustion engines to electromobility has exacerbated these distribution struggles.

In the past, Diess had regularly fought power struggles with long-term works council boss Bernd Osterloh over location and job issues. In the spring, Osterloh moved to the board of the commercial vehicle subsidiary Traton. For his successor, Cavallo, it is now the first discussion of the investment plans with the Diess management. The new employee manager had already requested that another electric model should be built in Wolfsburg, alongside the future project “Trinity”, which will not start until 2026 in the main plant. This is to ensure a higher capacity utilization and the preservation of as many jobs as possible in Wolfsburg.

A VW insider described the recent conflict between Diess and Cavallo as a “small tremor”, which should, however, subside again in mid-November.

Because unlike the conflicts in previous years, the job of VW boss Diess is not up for grabs this time.

The Supervisory Board recently extended his contract to October 2025.

The fact that Diess canceled participation in a works meeting on November 4 is not necessarily seen as the cause of the dispute in the group.

Even in previous years, the VW boss sometimes did not take part in such events.

Employees are more likely to anger the style of his rejection, which they learned about from the media.

Now the usual intermediaries in the group are asked again: HR director Gunnar Kilian and supervisory board chairman Hans Dieter Pötsch.

sh / mhs / Reuters

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2021-10-27

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