VW workers end strike
Workers at Volkswagen (VW) AG’s plant in Mexico — the only one in the world turning out the company’s new Beetle — ended a five-day strike on Saturday after negotiating a 3 percent salary increase, the company said. Workers will get a 2 percent raise starting this month and an additional 1 percent in December. The 9,400 workers at the plant in the central city of Puebla will also get a one-time payment of 2,000 pesos (US$155), the German carmaker said in a statement. The company employs a total of 14,700 people in Mexico. Union leader Victor Cervantes said full production would resume today.
Opel dealers disappointed
An association representing Opel dealers expressed disappointment at the lack of a decision to officially select the winning bidder for Opel at General Motors’ (GM) board meeting on Friday. “It’s really time now for this matter to be finalized, in the interest of all concerned and especially the dealers and their employees, prospects and buyers and in fact every one involved with Opel,” Jaap Timmer, chairman of the European Opel/Vauxhall Dealer Association, Euroda, said in a statement. They expected a decision before the upcoming Frankfurt Motor Show, which starts on Sept. 15, and certainly before the Sept. 27 German general election, Timmer said. Euroda, which represents 4,000 dealers, favors the bid from Magna International, as does the German government. GM, however, prefers a rival bid from RHJ International.
EU takes aim at airlines
The EU said nearly 4,000 airlines, business jet operators and air forces around the world must join its greenhouse gas emissions trading program by 2012 or be penalized when flying to EU countries. The bloc’s official gazette published on Saturday the list of operators, including airlines such as Lufthansa, Alitalia, Quantas, KLM, Emirates, US Airways and United. Also listed are manufacturers Airbus and Dassault, hundreds of private business jet operators, the US Navy and the air forces of Israel and Russia. Operators must submit plans for monitoring emissions by next January.
Qantas blames low demand
Australian flag-carrier Qantas yesterday blamed flagging demand on its key London and Los Angeles routes for an 88 percent drop in annual net profit. Chief executive Alan Joyce said the two routes, once the airline’s main profit generators, were operating at a loss because of increased competition and the impact of the global financial crisis. Joyce said that while the airline’s domestic operations were still profitable, the LA and London routes had dragged its international business into the red. “Basically, those routes are the biggest issue,” he told public broadcaster ABC. “Those two big routes are very dependent on premium traffic. Premium traffic dropped by between 20 and 30 percent for us.”
Aeon to offer funeral service
Aeon Co will begin offering funeral services next month in Japan and expects 20,000 clients in the first year, Nikkei reported, without saying where it obtained the information. The retailer will partner with 400 funeral companies and provide services through them, Nikkei said. The company aims to reduce funeral costs by about 40 percent by making bulk purchases of funeral-related items, the paper said.