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Business

BMW strikes labor deal, creates 3,000 new jobs

German luxury carmaker BMW has reached a deal with labor unions, providing new jobs in exchange for higher flexibility. The new contract ends several months of dispute over the use of temporary staff.

Under the labor contract signed Wednesday, BMW aimed to create approximately 3,000 permanent jobs by the end of 2013, the German luxury carmaker said Thursday.

Labor representatives had agreed to greater flexibility regarding working hours, BMW said, for the company to be able to better cope with peaks in production, as well as dropping demand for cars.

According to the BMW works' council, employees could have their shifts and breaks extended or reduced in line with demand. In addition, working time account models were to be introduced to make labor more flexible, an unidentified council member told German news agency dpa.

The program was called "Contract for Safeguarding Production," the council member added, and would envisage the additional hiring to come primarily from BMW's huge pool of temporary workers.

According to German labor unions, the luxury auto maker was routinely employing up to 12,000 temporary workers in addition to its 70,000 permanent staff. This figure was considerably higher than the number of temporary workers used by BMW's top-of-the-range rivals Daimler and Audi.

Originally, the new contract was due to have been signed in July, but was held up by a fierce dispute between labor and management.

Labor union representatives accused the company of wage dumping, while management claimed temporary work is needed to quickly react to demand fluctuations in car markets.

uhe/ccp (AFP, Reuters)