“Rising wages can not be offset.” Investments are “only possible on a limited basis.” Staffing levels should “be reduced as much as possible.” So reads an internal document from the management at Mahle, Germany’s fourth-largest car-parts manufacturer.
Mahle, which has around €10 billion in sales, is facing ongoing pricing pressure and wants to cut personnel costs in Germany by 15 percent, eliminating hundreds of jobs by 2019.
A contract stipulating employment protection will end on June 30 this year. Uwe Schwarte and Dieter Kiesling, heads of the works council, are calling for a strike.
Recently, a dozen of Mahle’s German factories were in the red. The fact that the corporation will show profits in the hundreds of millions again is thanks to its factories abroad and to the heating-and-cooling subsidiary Behr, which was acquired in 2013.
None of this is enough for CEO Heinz Junker. This summer he will be moving to the supervisory board after 19 years in the top position, and former Bosch manager Wolf-Henning Scheider will take over. But Mr. Junker wants to make radical change before he moves.
The planned takeover of the cooling technology division of the U.S. rival Delphi would necessitate new factories in countries with lower wages, such as Poland, Hungary or Turkey. The deal could be decided in the coming days.