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Business

Business Briefs

VW to cut nearly 4,000 jobs in Brazil, Lufthansa re-opens Far East schedule, IG Metall chief quits, BT and T Mobile to link up in Britain, Bundesbank report shows economy in dire straits.

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The signs do not look positive for VW's Brazilian workforce

Volkswagen to slash Brazilian workforce

Volkswagen’s Brazilian arm is set to slash nearly 4,000 jobs in an effort to counter the weak auto market in Brazil and its key export markets, according to company sources quoted in the media over the weekend. The news comes as VW announces the possible extension of its production range in Mexico. The statement said that some 3,933 jobs would be slashed at the company's Taubate and Anchieta plants, which make up around 16 percent of the company's Brazilian workforce of 25,000. VW said it aimed to place the majority of the affected employees at other VW plants or in new jobs.

Lufthansa Reintroduces Asian Routes Cut After SARS

Lufthansa said it will resume flights between Beijing and Frankfurt from next week as it restores flights cancelled earlier this year because of the SARS public health crisis. The daily flights will be supplemented by three more weekly flights between Shanghai and Munich starting in September, Lufthansa's executive vice president of marketing and sales, Thierry Antinori, said according to Bloomberg. He said that the airline could add a service between Hong Kong and Munich later this year and is also considering adding flights between Beijing and Munich and to the southern Chinese province of Guangdong next year.

Union boss quits in power struggle

Klaus Zwickel, the chairman of the German IG Metall trade union, has resigned in a power struggle with his deputy Jürgen Peters over who should lead the union after it had to retreat from an unsuccessful strike in June. The board of Europe's biggest industrial union is expected to announce that Peters and regional head Berthold Huber will lead the union following Zwickel’s resignation. IG Metall had to call a halt to four weeks of strikes in Germany's eastern states last month -- its worst defeat since 1954 -- after failing to get employers to reduce working hours for its members.

BT and T Mobile team up in U.K.

The British telecoms giant BT is set to re-enter the mobile telephone market after it was announced that the company has teamed up with Germany’s T Mobile. BT, now a predominantly fixed-line telephone company, is launching its own-branded mobile services to compete with operators such as Vodafone and Orange in the U.K. T Mobile is said to be eager to offload excess capacity within its UK cellular network. BT intends to sell its own brand of handsets and provide opportunities for customers to sign up for the new service after a planned marketing assault which is scheduled for rollout for October.

Bank report shows no sign of economic recovery

According to its monthly report issued by the German Central Bank, the Bundesbank, on Monday, the German economy, Europe's largest, failed to rebound in the second quarter of 2003, and the bank suggests there are no signs to suggest a recovery soon. “The available indicators don't suggest that economic output in the second quarter managed to detach itself from the basic trend of stagnation,” the monthly report stated. “An improvement in the near future is not in sight.'' The Bundesbank concluded that Germany's economy is close to recession after shrinking in the first quarter.

Compiled by Deutsche Welle staff from wire reports.