HANOVER, Germany (March 17, 2004) — Continental A.G. will invest more than $24 million this year in its Hanover-Stoecken tire plant to optimize tire production and process technology for commercial vehicle tires, after workers at the plant agreed to a package of work rule changes designed to make the plant more competitive.
Among the changes agreed to are increases in automation, streamlining of the internal organization and the “pragmatic application” of flexible opening clauses collective agreements, Continental said. These are designed to help cut costs and safeguard jobs in the medium term.
The Stoecken plant employs 1,800 and turns out more than16,000 car, truck, farm and industrial tires a day.
Conti said the agreement came after “difficult negotiations” with IG BCE (Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union) and the employee council at the Stoecken plant.
The tire maker balanced a “necessary adjustment” in working hours by agreeing to pay into the employee pension fund.
“We are pleased that we have agreed on a reasonable package, thus fulfilling our social duty to keep industrial jobs in Germany,” said Peter Huettenmeister, IG BCE regional director.
“The competitiveness of the commercial vehicle tire plant in Stoecken has been enhanced considerably thanks to the mutual efforts of management and employees,” said Thomas Sattelberger, the member of Continental´s Executive Board responsible for human resources and director of personnel.
Both parties stressed that the agreement they reached will help counter the persistent pressure on prices from both the automotive industry and the end users.