Qatar Wants Less Labor Influence at Volkswagen, Maybe

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson

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.

Mark Stevenson
Mark Stevenson

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6 of 13 comments
  • Xeranar Xeranar on Dec 06, 2015

    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.

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Dec 06, 2015

    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.

    • See 1 previous
    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 06, 2015

      @Hurf 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****.

  • Ratsnake Ratsnake on Dec 06, 2015

    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.

  • Voyager Voyager on Dec 11, 2015

    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.