Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Falkirk Bairn
Volkswagen AG said Tuesday it would stop production of its Golf model at its Belgian plant, shocking workers and government leaders who fear more than 3,500 jobs could be lost.

Company officials said the German car maker will move all production of the Golf to plants in Mosel and Wolfsburg in Germany as part of plans to cut production in Western Europe due to falling demand.

Helin said the factory currently produces 204,000 vehicles per year, 190,000 of which are Golf models.

Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Micky
I wish these Belgian types would make their minds up, they whinge when the germans arrive and then complain when they leave.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - L'escargot
They didn't during WWII!
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L\'escargot.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Collos25
As sales decline all manufacturers will retreat to their own fortress,the uk is lucky in one respect in that it would take the withdrawel from the EU for Toyota,Honda and Nissan to move unless they went to Poland or the likes.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Roly93
I cant say I have massive sympathy, I work for a European company with significant headcount in Belgium. When headcount cuts came worldwide, the UK workforce was 'raped' whilst the Belgian headcount was merely tickled, and they still winged !
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
My experience in the auto industry leads to believe that UK will always come off worst in any European job cuts because we have very soft labour protection laws.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Roly93
My experience in the auto industry leads to believe that UK
will always come off worst in any European job cuts because
we have very soft labour protection laws.

Correct sir !
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Xileno {P}
We've had this discussion before. It cuts both ways. The UK may have softer laws but the comparitive lack of regulations makes it easier to set up business in the first place. UK is a flexible economy, sometimes that's a good thing, sometimes bad.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Red Baron
To the same extent, this law also promotes the employment of individuals in an industry upturn as the employer knows that in a downturn the individual can be made redundant.

The so-called 'better' employment laws in some european states simply mean that it takes a lot longer to find a new job as employers are reluctant to create them.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
My own experience (which is wholly in engineering in UK and Europe) is that 'flexible employment' is not leading to any growth in domestic employment in the engineering industry, upturn or not. Obviously if you're running a Subway sandwich bar or a cleaning company then you might have a different perspective.
Companies I work with in the UK are now trying their hardest to recruit from Eastern Europe or India at lowest possible pay rates. One company I am working with that makes heat exchangers has this year laid off about 10 staff and replaced them with Poles. Another company that makes plastic fusion welding equipment has expanded a little and employed two guys from India - they get them in under SEGS or HSMP and they're prepared to work hard for very little for four years until they get citizenship. At that point they turn from compliant and flexible immigrant workers into your bog-standard bolshi British worker.
My advice to 'real' engineers in the UK (i.e. those with a degree, chartered status) is to seek work abroad where you will be properly paid in accordance with your skills and knowledge and enjoy sensible levels of employment protection.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Ruperts Trooper
This headline won't get any sympathy in Birmingham, Coventry or Luton.

Good news, though, for those who bought a VW (made in Belgium) thinking they were getting German engineering.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - machika
One company I am working with that makes
heat exchangers has this year laid off about 10 staff and
replaced them with Poles.


So there weren't really any redundant posts. Don't companies have to provide proof of redundancy any more?

I know it is easy enough to say a post is redundant and then employ someone to do the same job under a different job title. Is this what happened here? It is a standard method of hiring and firing these days.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Lounge Lizard
Why is anyone bothered about having manufacturing in Britain?

We've got the fine people of China, India and elsewhere to do that for us now.

They make stuff; we import it and use it. What's wrong with that?
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - machika
Any point in this country training engineers then?
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Lounge Lizard
There's lots of worthwhile, well-paid, things for professional engineers to do apart from manufacturing.

eg Innovation, Design, Maintenance, Repair, Construction...
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
There's lots of worthwhile, well-paid, things for professional engineers to do
apart from manufacturing.
eg Innovation, Design, Maintenance, Repair, Construction...


Of course there are, but once the manufacturing bit goes its only matter of time before design follows.

As to the 'maintenance and repair' bit, well I guess they could come and fix your washing machine....
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Sprice
Why is anyone bothered about having manufacturing in Britain?
We've got the fine people of China, India and elsewhere to
do that for us now.
They make stuff; we import it and use it. What's
wrong with that?


Heritage is the main problem I suppose. The UK has a proud history in iron, steel, car manufacturing etc, and we're seeing these jobs haemorrhaging/disappearing.

It will end up we'll have our economy built entirely on retail, and I for one would rather work in manufacturing than retail (boring).

One good thing, things are much cheaper nowadays (T-shirts, DVD players etc etc), so we do have more money to spend on other things, but in some sectors the quality suffers (e.g. a car built in China will not be as well built as the same car built in Europe for whatever reason).
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Lounge Lizard
...Heritage is the main problem I suppose...


Slavery, sending children up chimnies, coal-mining, corporal punishment, conscription, asbestos manufacture, steam-engines, racism, homophobia...
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Sprice
...world class steel, world class ca, er, well cars anyway. These sectors employed hundreds of thousands in their heyday, and paid well above average. As with everything, there's pros and cons to having manufacturing abroad and not in the UK.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - spikeyhead {p}
Doesn't Sheffield no produce more steel than it did in its heyday?

--
I read often, only post occasionally
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
Doesn't Sheffield no produce more steel than it did in its
heyday?



I doubt it.....!
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - spikeyhead {p}
>> Doesn't Sheffield no produce more steel than it did in
its
>> heyday?
>>
>>
I doubt it.....!


Except that now I've had the opportunity to check, it does, even though it employs only a fraction of those that it used to.
--
I read often, only post occasionally
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
>> ...Heritage is the main problem I suppose...
Slavery, sending children up chimnies, coal-mining, corporal punishment, conscription, asbestos manufacture,
steam-engines, racism, homophobia...


I would not equate engineering with any of the above.

There are sound strategic and long-term economic reasons for want to retain an engineering industry. As we may one day find out if we want to resurrect a nuclear industry - or indeed decommision our old nuclear power plants.
Its sad to think that we would not now, as a nation, be able to repeat some of the great engineering achievements of the latter half of the 20th century - and despite what the cynics may say they WERE great achievements. They also gave many thousands of people well paid jobs and a sense of national pride. What have we got to be proud about nowadays? The most flexible labour market in Europe and a we're good at pop music apparently?
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Lud
Steam engines and coal mining do have an engineering connection Aprilia, surely? But I agree with everything else you say. However I would move the apogee of British engineering back a century or more. Late 20th - Concorde? The M25? Running BL into the ground? - more of a swansong, seems to me.

Flexible labour market indeed! Can't help observing that Napoleon called us a nation of shopkeepers but actually the British don't take all that well to retail. Or services. We make lousy restaurant staff and keep lousy hotels compared to our ethnic brethren on the Continent. What are we doing these days really? Inflating financial bubbles of one sort and another perhaps. But how many of us are involved in that? Depressing.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - jase1
> But how many of us are involved in that? Depressing.

Don't forget the vast swathes of IT people who are involved in rolling out hopelessly badly-specced and implemented systems for Government and being paid vast sums of money for their incompetence. Of course this gravy train is slowly being eaten by India as well...
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Lud
Someone told me the other day that Reuter has outsourced its news editing to India.

Don't know why it bothers really. Most people can hardly read or write now. The Daily Telegraph seems to have fired all its subs and laid off a lot of hacks too. It's full of dreary celeb stories these days taken off the internet or from people's publicity agents. Speaking as a text man I find that even more depressing.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Lounge Lizard
...Most people can hardly read
or write now...


Oh come off it Lud! What gloomy vacuous nonsense!

We're one of the most literate nations in the world and in history!
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Lud
We're one of the most literate nations in the world and
in history!


Perhaps so - I agree my assertion was exaggerated - but my impression is that we are slipping back somewhat. I don't think people are being educated as well here as in most West European countries for example. We used to be ahead, now we're behind. Nothing to be smug about.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Micky
">As we may one day find out if we want to resurrect a nuclear industry<"

Too late, we lost that opportunity when the construction side of Nuclear Electric was broken up following the completion of Sizewell B. Sizewell C should have followed, but it didn't.

">repeat some of the great engineering achievements of the latter half of the 20th century<"

AGR power stations were (and are) potentially the most efficient large scale power generators, PWR was a step backwards. But it was a poor decision to carry out the R&D at Dungeness :-(
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - jase1
but in some sectors the quality suffers (e.g. a
car built in China will not be as well built as
the same car built in Europe for whatever reason).


Hmmm. We said the same about Japan in the past. And then Korea. And look at the two of them now....

Manufacturing is always going to follow the cheapest route, it has to in a competitive marketplace. That's capitalism for you.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
Manufacturing is always going to follow the cheapest route, it has
to in a competitive marketplace. That's capitalism for you.


True - apart from the fact that China is a communist country....
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - jase1
True - apart from the fact that China is a communist
country....


Economically, it's run on a hybrid system -- not true communism.

In any case, it's Western companies who are investing in China, because it is cheap. That's where the capitalism/globalisation comes in. The fact that the cheap market of the present is communist is incidental; tomorrow it may shift to a cheap democratic country.

The only Western manufacturing jobs that will survive long term are those in the quality end of whichever market you're looking at (electronics, cars, whatever). The bottom-feeders, and this includes VW, Honda et al, are competing largely on price, so those people in Europe employed by companies like VW are living on borrowed time. Sad fact of life.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Dalglish
... market of the present is communist is incidental; tomorrow it may shift to a cheap democratic country

>>

china used to be a communist country. no more. it has even started to allow religious worship!
its econpmy is best described by the following quote:
"....the People's Republic of China runs Special Economic Zones dedicated to capitalist enterprise, which are free from central government control. this is contrary to the communist theory proposed by Marx and Engels and later adapted by Lenin, Stalin, and Mao. After opening up trade to the world under Deng Xiaoping, the People's Republic of China runs some of the most economically free regions in the world, including Hong Kong, which is regarded by the Hoover Institute and the Wall Street Journal as the world's freest economy ....
These Special Economic Zones have few restrictions upon businesses, industries, imports and exports, including the elimination of duties, and a free price system. Since the opening of the Free Trade Zones China has maintained a growth rate of over 8%, and originally saw growth rates around 12%. ..."


Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
Listen, I've been to China and taken around on a paid-for tour of many of their automotive suppliers - I've had their 'hard sell' and also spoken with some of the Western companies who've invested there. No wholly foreign enterprises are allowed - they have to have a Chinese partner. If the enterprise is of any size then the Chinese partner will usually make sure there is one local party 'functionary' on the board. This is a big issue with foreign investors. The Chinese don't have much of a concept of a 'contract' - if things don't pan out their way after a year or two then they simply tear up any agreement. The notion of taking the Chinese partner to court simply does not exist. The quote from Dalglish is nonsense and I assume originates from some Chinese government dept. There are massive restrictions on business, including in the Free Trade Zones. I could list all the restrictions, but basically everything a company does has to be agreed by the local party officials - so usually at least one senior member of the local party has to be taken 'on board' to smooth the way. Do not underestimate for one moment the grip of the Communist Party on the country - it will not be a democracy in my lifetime! What the Chinese offer is very low labour rates, a lack of environmental controls and minimal worker protection. I visited a casting foundry which would make your hair curl (like something out of Dickens, with even less H&S) - and that was one they were prepared to show us!
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Aprilia
The only Western manufacturing jobs that will survive long term are
those in the quality end of whichever market you're looking at
(electronics, cars, whatever). The bottom-feeders, and this includes VW, Honda et
al, are competing largely on price, so those people in Europe
employed by companies like VW are living on borrowed time. Sad
fact of life.


VW and Honda absolutely are not competing on price. In any free market only one product is cheapest - everything that costs more is competing on DESIGN. If price were the only factor then car manfacturing in Japan and Germany would have ceased many years ago - they are two of the highest cost countries in the world. We would now all be driving around in Protons. I currently have a German-made watch on my wrist which cost about £400 - I could get a watch, just as accurate, for £4 - I paid 100-fold as much for the design.
The actual cost of manufacture of a car does not correlate particularly closely with labour cost in the country of manufacture. Labour is a relatively small percentage of the overall cost - however it is one of the easiest costs to control (politically) and that is why it receives so much emphasis. Indeed, many manufactured products have such little manual input nowadays that cost of capital, infrastructure, transportation, and energy etc are much more significant factors. Japan has almost the highest labour costs in the world, and yet a massive car industry. Toyota in Japan can offer their workers higher pay and better benefits than workers in UK or US and yet still manufacture the car more cheaply due to higher levels of automation.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Collos25
Your comparosons between Germany and the UK may have been true a few years ago but I can assure you now wages in germany are far lower than the UK's for manual workers my son works a 160 hour four week work pattern for a large parcel company driving a van for 1200euros a month before tax and he took this job because his trade being a master electrician the wages were lower.A fully qualified BMW master mechanic at a BMW franchise will get arounf 15 euros an hour and he will have been at college for 4 years for that a checkout worker in a supermarket gets 5 euros an hour,why do you think doctors and dentists come from Germany to the UK.The unit cost to employ a per person legally is far higher in the UK than Germany .I also certainly agree that the restrictive practices in Germany have held the country back.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - machika
As a qualified electrician he would be much better off working over here. Less than 1200 euros a month sounds incredible for an electrician.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - Collos25
I keep tellig him that but although he has his own place I think he likes being near his mother.
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - wemyss
Yes I was chatting with a middle aged chap the other day who was visiting his parents locally.
He was telling me how low paid they are in Germany. He worked as an armed security guard for the Americans I believe and he was paid £4.50 per hour.
He then carried on at great length about how the Euro had cut their standard of living and the different taxes he paid.
One of them was something to do with the reunification of the Eastern sector and some other one which Andy will no doubt know of.
wemyss
Belgian Jobs down hole - no more Golf - ajit
VW are a totally confused group-

Their India plans are very uncertain. They were to set up a plant but their corrupt management took a $10 million payoff from the state government of Andhra Pradesh (AP) into a dummy company to sign the letter of intent.

This came to light when Dr Pietscheider (sorry can't recollect name) started a major clean up. VW paid back the state (AP) and started the site selection process again thus losing another year.

To cap it all, Skoda have been in operation for the past 4 years and have been successful with rather overpriced Octavia's (old version Octys TDI 90 sell for 15000 pounds). Local content has not risen significantly so they are finding price competition, a challenge. Meanwhie Hyundai, Suzuki, Toyota and Honda are creaming the market and are able to maintain price through high level of localisation (which does not mean quality is compromised).

If VW make the Golf in India, it will cost almost the same as an Accord and hatchbacks do not sell at the premium end out here. Audi are selling fully built up cars out here aggressively, they make a loos on each A4 and the A6 is priced hiher than an E280. So far they are selling based on exclusivity and novelty. BMW will start local operations soon.

There is a wonderful strategy to use the skoda plant to churn out Audi's and VW and attain economies of scale but alas...none of these companies talk to each other.
 

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