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Turmoil at Car Giant: 40,000 VW Workers Protest Against EU

Employees at Volkswagen staged their biggest ever demonstration on Friday with tens of thousands protesting against EU plans to scrap the so-called "VW law" which gives the company state protection.

VW employees staged their biggest ever demonstration on Friday.
REUTERS

VW employees staged their biggest ever demonstration on Friday.

Tens of thousands of workers at Europe's largest carmaker Volkswagen staged a demonstration on Friday in protest against EU demands to scrap a law giving the firm special state protection.

Trade union IG Metall said 40,000 VW workers joined the rally at the group's main plant in Wolfsburg, northern Germany, after the EU Commission warned it would take Germany to court for not fully complying with its demands to axe the so-called "VW law," which ensures a government veto in the affairs of the carmaker.

"In this age of globalization and financial market capitalism we need more democracy and not less," IG Metall leader Berthold Huber told the rally. The union said workers from all VW's plants in Germany and abroad had joined the demonstration.

The protest was also directed against Porsche, which is VW's biggest shareholder with 31 percent and which plans to raise its stake to a majority shortly. Porsche wants the VW law axed because it gives the government of Lower Saxony, which owns just over 20 percent of VW, the right to block major management decisions.

The employees waved flags, carried banners and made a deafening noise with their whistles and horns that must have been heard by the supervisory board meeting inside VW's headquarters on Friday.

Porsche suffered a defeat at that meeting which voted in favor of a motion, brought by labor representatives, stating that Porsche will need the board's approval for any form of cooperation with VW's luxury unit Audi.

The move effectively curbs Porsche's power at VW and is the latest round in a bitter power struggle between the two carmakers.

cro -- with wire reports

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