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Business

Bosch cuts shifts to weather European car crisis

Germany's biggest car components' supplier Bosch has announced shorter working hours in response to dropping parts demand from European carmakers. The stoppages will mainly affect the firm's diesel systems unit.

At Bosch's Bamberg production site, some 980 of the company's 7,300 employees will have to go on short-time work, the car industry supplier said Wednesday.

The scheme would be introduced for six days respectively in the months of September and October; it followed an agreement reached between management and the works council.

In a statement, Bosch said that the stoppages were primarily a result of slumping diesel car sales in crisis-hit Southern Europe, and the subsequent introduction of short-time work at some of its auto industry customers.

In addition, Bosch said that it had no plans for introducing reduced working hours at its remaining plants in Germany.

Germany's biggest car components manufacturer, which also runs a series of other technology operations, employs about 120,000 people in 80 locations in Germany, and about 300,000 worldwide.

In September, two of Bosch's main customers, carmakers Opel and Ford, announced short-time work for about 10,000 and 4,000 workers respectively.

Bosch didn't say if shifts would have to be cut in the following months, too, arguing that this depended on the development of demand in future.

Martin Kannegiesser, the head of the German metalworking and electrical industry group (Gesamtmetall), described the short-time work schemes at Opel and Bosch as "writings on the wall," heralding a general slowdown of the German economy.

uhe/msh ( Reuters, dpa)