Thousands of employees from Germany’s Daimler trim hours to save jobs

Thousands of employees from Germany's Daimler trim hours to save jobs
A Daimler employee in Sindelfingen, Baden-Württemberg on April 30th. Photo: DPA
Thousands of Daimler employees have agreed to cut their hours and give up bonuses this year to save jobs amid the coronavirus crisis, the German carmaker said Tuesday.

The Mercedes-Benz manufacturer was already grappling with a painful restructuring set to include a major jobs cull before the pandemic sent car sales plummeting.

Daimler said in a statement it had reached a deal with German unions that would see administrative employees and staff in other non-factory areas such as logistics, work two hours less a week and take a corresponding pay cut for one year from October 1st.

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Daimler, which employs nearly 300,000 people worldwide, did not say how many employees in Germany would be affected by the deal.

Daimler's German workers have also agreed to forego their annual profit-sharing bonus this year, which amounted to almost €600 per person in 2019, the statement added.

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“We want to thank the workforce for their important, temporary contribution to overcoming this crisis together,” Daimler personnel chief Wilfried Porth said.

Workers' representative Michael Brecht called the agreement “a clear contribution to securing jobs and stabilising our financial situation”.

Daimler announced in 2019 that at least 10,000 jobs would be culled as part of the group's efforts to save €1.4 billion by 2022, mainly through voluntary redundancies and early retirement schemes.

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But German media have reported that number could climb as high as 20,000 as Daimler, like other automakers, faces fallout from weeks of coronavirus lockdowns that halted production lines and kept dealerships closed.

The group posted last week a loss of nearly two billion euros in the second quarter of 2020 owing to the pandemic's impact.

Although sales began to recover as countries eased lockdown measures, Daimler chief executive Ola Kallenius warned that the coming “months and years will be a challenge”.

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