Truck production – Linz consortium wants to save 1,850 jobs at MAN in Steyr

In the struggle to maintain the MAN plant in Steyr, the consortium led by the Linz entrepreneur Karl Egger (KeKelit) has now sent the German truck manufacturer its announced concept for the takeover and further development of a “Green Mobility Center”. Of the 2,300 employees – 1,950 are part of the core workforce – 1,850 could continue to work. The interests of the consortium with national and international partners are represented by the LGG Industriebeteiligung of the two lawyers Gerald Ganzger and Gabriel Lansky and the entrepreneur Gerald Gerstbauer. The structure and composition are well advanced, it is said. LGG is negotiating both with the Czech Tatras and with car manufacturers from Southeast Asia. Ex-Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer (SPÖ) is active in an advisory capacity.

At the moment, however, the MAN group is only negotiating a sale with the Austrian investor Siegfried Wolf – and according to “Presse” an important preliminary decision should have been made on Friday evening: At one meeting, the majority of the supervisory board voted in favor of the plant in Steyr either to Wolf to sell or to close it as planned. The concept presented at the last moment by Eggers consortium was not taken into account, according to the “press”. Ganzger – alluding to Wolf’s connections to the Russian auto company GAZ Group and the oligarch Oleg Deripaska – emphasized that the concept submitted by MAN was “more crisis-proof and more diversified than the concept that is only dependent on Russia and is currently being negotiated”.

Works council for consortium

US sanctions against Russia also speak for workers’ works council Erich Schwarz against Wolf’s concept. He considers the plan for a “Green Mobility” center to be fundamentally more solid due to the broad base. In any case, for him it was a basis on which the board of directors should “start serious negotiations with the consortium,” said Schwarz.

According to phase one of the concept, 10,000 trucks could be manufactured in Steyr in future in “truck assembly in large series, including e-mobility and hydrogen drives”. This is where 656 of the current 1,330 employees in the truck and cab assembly area could potentially move. The consortium expects 290 new jobs for painting. A total of 1,850 jobs were retained. Since the core workforce is currently only 100 more, this downsizing would be “easily feasible,” says Schwarz. In phase two (until 2030) there is a potential for 10,000 full-time jobs in Steyr.

New details on Wolf’s plans

Meanwhile, “Kurier” and “Oberösterreichische Nachrichten” have more details on Wolf’s plans. The former Magna top manager Wolf, who wants to buy the entire plant in Steyr with his company WSA and take over around 1,200 employees, is planning the production of four vehicle models under the Steyr brand, which are to be exported to 44 countries. The range extends from small electric buses to small trucks to delivery vans. Electromobility, hydrogen technology and autonomous driving are also central topics at the plant. In addition, the investor, who also holds 10 percent of the Russian automotive company GAZ, intends to continue the plastic paint shop in Steyr and to deliver 10,000 to 12,000 driver’s cabs for trucks to Russia every year, according to the OÖN.

Those employees who are taken on should forego up to 15 percent of their wages, but receive a continued employment bonus of 10,000 euros. According to “Kurier”, employees who leave the company receive compensation in the same amount. A social plan will be put in place for them. A part-time age model for long-serving employees is also to be rolled out.

Negotiations exclusively with Wolf

In any case, the MAN headquarters in Munich left no doubt on Friday that negotiations would only be conducted with Wolf about a “possible re-use”. In a broadcast it was announced that Richard von Braunschweig (48) would become a member of the management of MAN Truck & Bus Österreich GesmbH and will replace the long-standing managing director Karl-Heinz Rauscher (60). Von Braunschweig, who most recently played a key role in the takeover of the Plauen facility, which is also threatened with closure, by the special vehicle manufacturer BINZ, is also to promote a similar model for Steyr with Wolf “in order to avoid a site closure”.

MAN plans to close the plant in Steyr in 2023 as part of a group-wide savings program. Workers and politicians insist that the site is profitable and that there are site security contracts. These should actually have guaranteed the stock until 2030, but this was canceled by MAN. (apa)

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