Germany's leading car manufacturer Volkswagen continues to suffer from the global shortage of semiconductors, with a senior employee representative calling the cut in working hours "hard to bear."
The possible prolonged cut in shifts from April onward will be limited to the main plant in Wolfsburg for the time being, but the works council is applying pressure for the company to improve its chip purchasing.
"We have had to phase out temporary work at almost all locations and have thus already made changes at the turn of the year," human resources board member Gunnar Kilian told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
Plants like the one in the north-western city of Emden on the Dutch border are already geared to two-shift instead of three-shift operation.
Daniela Cavallo, head of the works council, emphasized: "We have full order books. But the semiconductors are missing. It doesn't add up, and it's hard to bear."
At the Wolfsburg headquarters, VW is cutting night shifts on three out of four important lines in the spring.
Last year, 330,000 fewer vehicles were built in Wolfsburg, meaning just under 400,000 cars were produced, a low since 1958.
In addition to financial compensation for the loss of shift bonuses, the employee representatives are demanding a reorganization of the procurement of central supplier parts.
According to Cavallo, some companies are further ahead than VW in securing sufficient quantities.
"Certainly, a lot has already happened. We have the task force on semiconductor supply. But it's also about building strategic, long-term supply management – not just for microchips, by the way."