Consequence of salary cuts: Works councils sue Volkswagen

Consequence of salary cuts
Works councils are suing Volkswagen

The level of the salaries of some VW works councils is questioned by a court ruling. The car manufacturer reacts and makes a fee reduction. Several works councils are taking legal action against this.

Several Volkswagen works councils are filing lawsuits against salary cuts as a result of a judgment by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). The first procedure of this kind at the Hanover labor court begins this Tuesday, as a court spokesman said. The subject is an application by a member of the works council of VW Commercial Vehicles in Hanover-Stöcken. According to information from VW works council circles, the works council is taking action against a pay reduction of around 300 euros gross per month. He also resists repayment claims in the low four-digit range.

According to the court spokesman from Hanover, similar proceedings by VW works councils are pending at the Braunschweig and Emden labor courts. Earlier this year, the BGH overturned acquittals for four former VW personnel managers. “Volkswagen AG has taken note of the reasoning behind the judgement. The company will take into account the findings contained therein on the scale of works council remuneration,” said the carmaker from Wolfsburg. According to this, “hypothetical” assumptions about the further career of a works council member alone should not be used as a benchmark for their payment.

In the specific case, the question was whether those responsible at VW had approved unreasonably lavish salaries and bonuses for senior staff representatives between 2011 and 2016. Ex-works council chief Bernd Osterloh, for example, came to more than 700,000 euros in some years. The public prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig brought charges of breach of trust. The Braunschweig district court could not identify any intent and acquitted the four personnel managers – which the BGH reversed again.

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