Volkswagen to payout Russian workers who quit

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German car maker ceased production in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine.

Volkswagen will offer payouts to workers who voluntarily quit their jobs at a currently closed Russian car assembly plant.

Around 200 employees at the Nizhny Novgorod factory have been offered the opportunity, which includes medical insurance and financial compensation, Reuters reports.

The factory was shut “until further notice” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March. Vehicle exports to the country were also ceased.

Now, a Volkswagen spokesperson has confirmed to Reuters that it will help workers who take up the offer, until the end of 2022.

Although no monetary value has been released, Russian paper Kommersant cited union sources as saying that employees who agreed to the company’s offer before 17 June would receive six months’ salary.

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As yet, no reason has been given for this decision, but reports suggest it is a way for VW to minimise the financial impact the war is having on the company. This move may also suggest that the car maker is not expecting the factory to reopen before the end of the year.

This offer comes after the plant, which is owned by commercial vehicle manufacturer Gaz Group, was closed because of Western sanctions. Although VW doesn’t own the factory, it has a contractual agreement for several of its models to be assembled there, including the VW Taos and three Skoda models: the Kodiaq, Karoq and Octavia.

At the same time, VW’s plant in Kaluga, Russia, which employs around 4200 workers, was also shut. The VW Polo, VW Tiguan and Skoda Rapid are built by Gaz under licence, as well as the Audi Q7 and Audi Q8. Petrol engines for an array of its models are also manufactured there.

At the time of the closures, VW said it “takes its responsibility for the affected employees in Russia very seriously.”

As well as VW, ​​Aston Martin, BMW, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Jaguar Land Rover are among the firms to have halted sales in the region.

Will Rimell

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