August 10, 2017 / 9:54 AM / 6 months ago

VW labour leaders warn politicians not to put jobs in jeopardy

FRANKFURT, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s powerful labour representatives on Thursday urged lawmakers not to use the carmaker as a political football ahead of national elections next month and risk threatening jobs in Germany.

The appeal came after the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) party called for Lower Saxony to sell its $9 billion Volkswagen stake to remove any German state influence and let the carmaker focus on improving its lacklustre profitability.

“Volkswagen is being criticised, in parts justifiably so, but we need to be rational, because it is about the future of thousands of jobs. Workers are worried and politicians should take this seriously,” the carmaker’s powerful labour leader Bernd Osterloh said in a statement on Thursday.

Labour leaders said 120,000 VW workers were being given a petition to sign, urging Berlin politicians not to “abuse” the carmaker during the parliamentary election campaign.

Germany’s leading carmakers and its transport authority face allegations about hiding the true levels of vehicle pollution, fueling a perception that the auto industry and government enjoy an unduly close relationship.

Volkswagen has been struggling to bounce back from its emissions cheating admissions that have cost the company as much as $25 billion. (Reporting by Edward Taylor; editing by David)

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