9 Jun 2022 11:25

VW offers workers at GAZ assembly line six months' severance if they quit - paper

MOSCOW. June 9 (Interfax) - German automaker Volkswagen has offered employees at a contract assembly line at a GAZ Group plant in Nizhny Novgorod six months' severance pay if they voluntarily resign, national daily Kommersant said on Thursday.

The fact that staff at VW's division in Nizhny Novgorod were offered six months' severance pay if they voluntarily terminate their labor contracts in June was reported by one of the unions for VW employees in Russia. The unions Yedinstvo and ASM said in a letter to the human resources director of the German company's Russian subsidiary Volkswagen Group Rus LLC, Gerrit Spengler, that on June 2 they received an offer to terminate labor contracts by mutual agreement. According to the union, the company, however, claims that there is no mass downsizing for workers in Nizhny Novgorod.

The proposed conditions stipulate that workers who accept the offer to terminate their contract by June 17 will get six months' pay, while those who take the offer by June 29 will only get five months. According to various unions, about 200 people work at this VW division, the paper said.

VW's representative office in Russia confirmed this information, saying that the company offered a package that includes financial compensation and health insurance until the end of 2022, as well as personal IT equipment (if applicable) for those employees in Nizhny Novgorod who choose to resign.

Assembly of VW and Skoda models at the GAZ Group plant in Nizhny Novgorod shut down on March 3 and the assembly line has been idling since then. Uncertainty regarding the future of contract assembly at the plant has increased further since May 25. The Russian automaker, which was hit by U.S. sanctions back in 2018 that had been deferred repeatedly, failed to secure another Treasury Department extension of the deferral in light of Russia's military operation in Ukraine.

VW has still not made any statements regarding the termination of the agreement for contract assembly at GAZ, Kommersant said.

The production schedule for the Skoda line at GAZ has it idling until mid-September, but this is just a formality, as sanctions are unlikely to allow it to resume operations, the paper said. Furthermore, VW has conveyed to its dealers that there will not be any assemble in Russia in 2022, including at the company's own plant in Kaluga.

However, the German company does not want to leave the Russian market, at least as far as the VW brand is concerned, the paper said, citing sources.