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Workers at Daimler in Germany fight for their future jobs

29 June, 2017The Works Council at the major supplying site of Mercedes-Benz in Untertürkheim will not allow any overtime as of 1 July 2017.

This decision was made following difficult negotiations with the company management over electric mobility and future of the Untertürkheim site, and provoked disruptions in the future supplies of Mercedez-Benz S-Class and E-Class cars produced at Sindelfingen.

So far, the plant management insists that the planned battery factory should not be a subdivision of the Untertürkheim site, but instead should be located at Deutsche Accumotive GmbH. Accumotive GmbH is a subsidiary company of Daimler AG based in Kamenz (Saxony). This represents a serious threat to some 19,000 workers of Untertürkheim site currently producing combustion engines, transmissions and axles for Mercedez-Benz cars.

The company is already manufacturing batteries at a larger scale and workers are afraid that the plant may lose orders in future as Daimler is increasing spending on electric cars that need engine with fewer parts and require fewer workers on the assembly line.

For all Mercedes-Benz plants, the question of the role of locations of key components production is of great importance for future e-mobility. Works Council representatives claim that the basic pledge to integrate the future electric vehicles into the existing plants is a prerequisite for the company construction works at the sites in Sindelfingen, Bremen and Rastatt. The Untertürkheim site lacks such an assurance, although its workforce will be gravely affected by the upcoming changes.

At the same time the plant management, among other things, wants to deduct three qualification days from the time account for all employees annually. The three days correspond to an equivalent value of 650 euros per employee per year depending on individual income and is strongly criticized by the works council.

So far management is resistant, claiming that the investments needed in order to keep battery production at the site are too high. This is due to a number of factors, including the current location of the Untertürkheim site. In Baden-Wuerttemberg state metal tariffs are higher than in Saxony, where the company already has a battery factory in the Kamenz district.

Earlier, during the negotiations for the introduction of electric mobility in the beginning of the year, the plant management had also announced the production of a rear eATS (electric drive system). However later the company representatives announced that this proposal is no longer part of the offer.

Wolfgang Nieke, Chairman of the Works Council at Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim comments,

"Our future here in the Neckar valley is closely linked to the future of the powertrain, which is why it is important today to set the course for tomorrow, with the workforce and the Works Council expecting the company to produce as many dimensions as possible of the electric drive components."