Volkswagen asks China factory staff to work longer hours to recoup Covid losses

Image used for representational purpose. AFP

German motor vehicle manufacturer Volkswagen (VW) has asked its staff and workers in China to work overtime to recover the production losses it suffered following the wave COVID illness.

Workers at a VW factory – that runs a joint venture with China’s FAW group — in Chengdu, Sichuan district have been asked to work for 11 hours, three hours extra from their usual eight-hour shift.

According to a Reuters report, the extra three hours come after the factory suffered a two-week-long shutdown in November which resulted in a parts shortage at the factory due to the COVID outbreak at a supplier firm.

The move comes amid Volkswagen’s attempt to revive its business in the country which is responsible for half of its profits and serves as its largest market.

The car manufacturer says that the sudden shift in China’s COVID policy has wreaked havoc in the industry and to bring things back to normal VW needs its skilled workers.

During the lockdowns in China, VW was forced to shut down some factories temporarily. On the other hand, some factories were allowed to operate under a ‘closed-loop system’ wherein workers were required to stay inside the manufacturing hubs to eliminate the chances of spreading infections.

Last year, Volkswagen’s sales dipped by 14 per cent. The German manufacturer faced fierce competition from local producers like BYD Auto which sold 152,863 units as compared to VW which sold 143,602.

Chief financial officer of Volkswagen, Arno Antlitz, said that 2023 is going to be “more challenging” than this year as inflation and a worsening economic outlook cut into demand.

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