Kurt Beck visits PorscheSPD Chairman Tours Headquarters in Zuffenhausen
Stuttgart. Today Kurt Beck, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and Prime Minister of the Federal State of Rheinland-
Pfalz, was the guest of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG at the Porsche headquarters in Stuttgart. He had accepted the invitation of Uwe Hück, Chairman of the Porsche Group’s Works Council. Together with Holger P. Härter, Deputy Chairman of the Managing Board of Porsche Automobil Holding SE and head of Finance and Controlling, Hück informed the SPD Chairman about job conservation measures at the Porsche location and about the implementation of codetermination at Porsche. As well as the demographic change in the workforce and the challenges resulting for an enterprise like Porsche, the training of young people was also a central topic during the visit.
Hück referred to the long-term location agreement signed in 2005 as a special example of good cooperation between employer and employees at Porsche. The securing of the jobs at the Porsche locations in Baden-
Württemberg up to 2010 was accompanied by a clear increase in productivity. Hück commented: “We achieved a decisive rise in productivity, without going against the labor agreements. This means that today we can build considerably more automobiles in Zuffenhausen with the same personnel.” The fact that the jobs are secured to 2010 despite these measures for increasing efficiency is linked with the decision of the Board to invest more than 600 million Euros in the three locations in the time between 2005 and 2010. Thus a new engine plant and a multifunctional hall have been built, and the assembly line extended.
A short time ago Porsche acquired the neighbouring site of Dürr AG, in order to build a new paint shop. The attractiveness of the Zuffenhausen location will also be further enhanced by the building of a new museum. Porsche Deputy Chairman Holger Härter added: “With the location agreement, we have shown that we are serious about our commitment to Germany and our social responsibility to our workforce.” One part of this long-term securing of the location, he said, was the agreement that Porsche would recruit 100 trainees every year, and would take them on, following the training, on a non-temporary basis. Hück emphasized that he personally had been strongly committed to the idea that around 40 percent of trainees should come from the Hauptschule (the least directly academically-oriented branch of Germany’s threefold secondary school system): “The extremely positive results show that we were right. Already during the first few years of their employment, many pupils from the ‘Hauptschule’ trained by us qualify themselves for impressive careers at Porsche. Thanks to a comprehensive further education offer, all doors are open to the professional younger generation, also after their training.”
The Chairman of the group’s Works Council also explained why he sees employee participation in company decisions as one ingredient in Germany’s recipe for success as a business location: “Only by co-determination is a strong economy with fair wages and salaries possible. It is the precondition for social equilibrium in our country. In this context, one thing is quite clear to us all: an enterprise has to make a decent profit, in order to be able to pay its workers well.”
Hück and Härter showed the SPD Chairman around the Vehicle Assembly and Upholstery departments. There, the politician was able to gain a picture of the productivity, flexibility and quality of work at Porsche in person-to-person conversations with employees. After completing the one-hour tour through the Zuffenhausen factory, Kurt Beck appeared impressed by the dedication of the Porsche employees, their self-
confidence and their identification with the enterprise. “Porsche is an example of what management and workers can achieve when they pull together. This sports car manufacturer makes a decisive contribution to the reputation of excellence enjoyed by the German automotive industry in the world”, said Beck, speaking in the presence of around 40 representatives of the media.