Economy, Auto

Qatar Urges VW to Tackle Unions

Qatar Urges VW to Tackle Unions
Qatar Urges VW to Tackle Unions

Qatar, the third-largest shareholder in Volkswagen, is urging the German carmaker to reduce the influence of its powerful trade unions as it battles to overcome its emissions scandal, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.

Bild am Sonntag, without citing sources, said the Qatar Investment Authority would use a meeting on Sunday with VW Chief Executive Matthias Mueller and other top players in the firm to demand a scaling back of the role of the works council.

The QIA, which holds a 17% stake in Europe’s largest automaker, declined to comment, while a VW spokesman said Mueller’s talks in Qatar with the QIA “serve the communications of VW’s new leadership with an important partner.”

VW’s Works Council declined to comment.

The council, whose representatives hold as many seats on the company’s 20-member supervisory board as shareholders, has long wielded a great influence at the carmaker and has headed off cost cuts in the past.

The emissions scandal has wiped billions off VW’s stock market value and Mueller has said the firm will have to make massive cuts to meet a bill which analysts say could top €40 billion ($44 billion) for fines, lawsuits and vehicle refits.

The QIA, which has two seats on the supervisory board that hires and fires executives, will also demand a multibillion campaign to promote electric vehicles in the United States to regain ground in the world’s second-biggest auto market, the newspaper said.