In recognition of its employees’ efforts during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Volkswagen and Germany’s largest industrial union have agreed on a 23-month wage deal that provides a €1,000-euro bonus (approximately $1,501.37 in Canadian dollars), as well as a 2.3 per cent wage increase that will take effect in January 2022.
The deal covers 120,000 workers at six factories in Germany and people working for Volkswagen’s financial services arm, Volkswagen said in a statement this week. The company’s negotiator, Arne Meiswinkel, said the deal with the IG Metall union, which runs to the end of November 2022, “is appropriate for the especially challenging environment since the beginning of the pandemic.”
Volkswagen is the latest in a long line of employers implementing so-called hero pay to thank frontline employees for their efforts, and the associated risks they’re taking while working, during the public-health crisis. Last year, LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services, Walmart Canada Corp. and Siemens Canada gave employees recognition bonuses, and Home Depot Inc. took a number of steps to support its employees during the public-health crisis, including giving hourly workers in its stores and distribution centres weekly bonuses and double overtime pay. Earlier this week, Sobeys Inc. announced it was reinstating ‘hero pay’ for employees in lockdown areas amid the third wave in many parts of Canada.
In its statement, Volkswagen said it expects to pay out the one-time bonus in June. Additionally, the company also agreed to offer 1,400 apprenticeships each year through 2025, make a one-time contribution of €150 per worker to company pension plans and convert a performance-based salary component to a uniform payment of €150 a month per worker.