The Portuguese Economy minister says he is following the negotiations, but the Government "must not get involved directly". Volkswagen's CEO says the conflict "must be solved by October".
The Portuguese Economy minister Manuel Caldeira Cabral stated this Wednesday that the Government “must not get involved directly” in the labor conflict in Volkswagen’s Portuguese factory Autoeuropa, but assured they are following the negotiations closely. The CEO of Volkswagen Herbert Diess assures the company is not considering “any other options” for producing T-Roc, a car model exclusively assembled in the Portuguese factory (in Palmela). He adds, however, that the conflict between workers and the administration “must be solved by October”, one month before the launch of the new model.
“The Government has been paying close attention to the process, but must not get directly involved nor bring internal issues from the company to the public square”, Manuel Caldeira Cabral stated. The governor recalled that he met both the factory’s administration and the CEO of Volkswagen in Italy. “I was confident a solution with the Council of Workers, which satisfies both parties, would be found”, he stated. Lastly, he signaled the company is “very important” for Portugal, since it is making “major investments in the country, namely the increase in production — the goal is to have Autoeuropa produce 28 thousand units by the end of 2017 and 180 thousand in 2018.
“It is a stressful situation, but we trust the new administration”, Herbert Heiss, Volkswagen’s CEO, says, adding he hopes a solution will be found in October because “all involved parties are interested in solving this issue”. He also stated: “We are not considering any other options and I trust Autoeuropa’s administration”. The Portuguese newspaper Observador stated that transferring the production to another unit is not considered an option because of the costs it would bear.
Carlos Silva, secretary general of UGT (General Workers’ Union), stated the strike was “a great irresponsibility”, saying SITE-SUL, the Confederation of Portuguese Industry and Energy Workers, should have made a larger effort in the negotiations with the administration before calling for the strike. Last Thursday, the representative from SITE-SUL met with Autoeuropa’s administration and human resources and described the meeting as “productive”, adding the “communication channels are open”.