By on December 6, 2015

2016 Volkswagen e-Golf

According to a report by Bild am Sonntag (via Reuters), Volkswagen’s third largest shareholder, the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), wants trade unions to have less influence in what happens at the automaker amid Volkswagen’s ongoing emissions scandal.

QIA, which owns 17 percent of Volkswagen, is said to use a meeting scheduled today with automaker CEO Matthias Müller to “demand a scaling back of the role of the works council,” reported Reuters.

Volkswagen representatives denied the report, stating, “Co-determination (joint decision-making by corporate and labor representatives) and the (role of the) works council were not on the agenda of the talks.”

The works council holds as many seats on the supervisory board as shareholders, reported Reuters, and the works council has long staved off cuts that would be immediately detrimental to Volkswagen’s unionized workforce.

However, as QIA sees its Volkswagen share value dwindle, the sovereign investment fund may be looking to have more control over the goings on of Volkswagen’s affairs, even if it means cutting the workforce to satisfy the bottom line.

A Forbes article in late September stated QIA could have a paper loss of $8.4 billion on Volkswagen alone.

Additionally, it was reported QIA wants Volkswagen to make a bigger play in the electric vehicle space in the United States as a way to recover from the company’s now-dirty diesel image.

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13 Comments on “Qatar Wants Less Labor Influence at Volkswagen, Maybe...”

  • avatar

    Wow what a surprise: autocratic oil sheiks don’t want ordinary folks to have a voice. Thankfully the antiwirker era touched off by moving production to places like China is coming to an end. A looming worker shortage means the days of big business running over workers is ending.

    • 0 avatar

      “Thankfully the antiwirker era touched off by moving production to places like China is coming to an end.”


      “A looming worker shortage means the days of big business running over workers is ending.”


      There will never be a labour shortage; even ignoring the inevitable advance of automation there will always be a global majority living in poverty who can be easily exploited. If Chinese society advances to the point of post-war America and Western Europe they’ll simply externalize their exploitation to the poor of India and Africa. A century from now America will be a wasteland of poverty punctuated by enclaves of wealth.

      The “antiworker” era began with the first agricultural civilization, it is an issue intrinsic to any hierarchical society, and it will not end any time soon, if ever. Labour having representation by actual power died with Lenin, and the West buying off a generation of workers with the spoils of the second World War ensured that it will be multiple generations yet before the soft propaganda of the modern Capitalist state can be truly challenged.

      • 0 avatar

        You need to watch the news closer. And pay some attention.

        The once kinda-sorta could-have-been, maybe-halfway yeah-right “capitalist” societies, have collectivized return on investment on children, to the point where virtually their entire fertile population find Asimo a better deal.

        While members of cultures less fundamentally lost, have internalized similar objections to hierarchy you seem to have, to the point where they’re unlikely to ever surrender their guns and dull beheading knives, just in order to make it easier for has-been geriatrics to have some junta “protect their property rights.”

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t want to give those Bangladeshis any funny ideas.

  • avatar

    Through great sacrifice of blood and lives, organized labor created the middle class in Europe and North America. The result was economic development and increases in the standard of living on a scale unprecedented in human history. Look around, this mass economic development that organized labor fought for created the “first world” as we know it. However, powerful feudal states like Qatar and Saudi Arabia have no use for the middle class and feel threatened by any power wielded by it–especially when it affects their wealth like in this case. All first worlders should recognize and reject the influence of these primitive totalitarian regimes and refuse to engage in commerce with them. Every dollar we send them only leads to suffering for the many and helps finance the export of destructive religious extremism and terror.

    • 0 avatar

      “Through great sacrifice of blood and lives, organized labor created the middle class in Europe and North America.”

      And then, job completed, their “leaders” needed a new excuse for why they should remain “labor organizers”, rather than the less sexy “laborer”, so they got involved in politics. With, as is always the case, predictably disastrous results.

  • avatar

    Tension has existed between Volkswagen and the QIA for quite some time. Ever since Volkswagen refused to build that specialty vehicle for the Qatar market – The one that looked like a camel when viewed from aerial surveillance but could launch a SAM missile from it’s ass.

    The QIA were offended when Volkswagen submitted a vehicle rendering drawn by Berke Breathed that bore a striking resemblance to his earlier work – The X15 Cruise Basselope.

  • avatar

    Foreign ownership doesn’t care about local labor or the the complex relationships within the corporation. Just cares about bottom line and RoI. News at 11!

    Is it really surprising? If I owned stock in a company that I didn’t have to worry about socially or even long-term, I simply wanted immediate returns I could make the same inane arguments.

  • avatar

    In the longer term VW needs to break ground on green technology as a reprieve. Leave the Arabs where they belong. At each others throats.

    • 0 avatar

      “Leave the Arabs where they belong.”

      At the forefront of advanced, secular society?

      The Middle East being a clusterfuck is almost (Have to give Russia some credit here) entirely due to the meddling of Western powers and is a relatively recent development, historically it has been the powers that developed into the modern West who have been aggressively violent expansionist thugs.

      • 0 avatar

        I do wonder if a sizable chunk of it becomes a plate of glass in the coming months. Not rooting for it to happen but I can’t recall another time when things were this messed up all at once. You’d think everyone is looking for loot under a Big W its such a cluster****.

  • avatar

    VW is just helping this particular SWF turn tail and go home faster than others being liquidated to make up budget holes with the oil price stuck at $40. Bye!

    The role of codetermination in destroying value at VW is pretty much nothing compared to management and engineering issues related to fraud on regulators around the world.

  • avatar

    What can you say? The Qatarese are used to having slaves doing their manual labor, as can be seen in the building of the facilities meant for the World Championship of Soccer in 2022. Which costed hundreds of lives already. If there’s one solid reason why the world should be better off with less oil, is that the Arabs will no longer have the kind of influence that they still hold now.

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