Volkswagen says it wants to lengthen its standard working week at plants in western Germany to 35 hours without raising salaries in an effort to save jobs and remain competitive. The move – which would end a 28.8-hour working week in place since 1994 – is designed to improve efficiency. (Forget about the American work week of 40+ hours.)
But union leaders oppose the move, which VW sees as key to a comprehensive agreement on pay and conditions. It previously said that 20,000 jobs were at risk unless productivity could be increased. Continue reading this article »
The Canadian dollar retreated from a new 28-year high capping a strong May 2006. The loonie depreciated to 90.79 cents (U.S.), down .09 cents on the day. The loonie rose as high as 91.44 cents, its highest level since Jan. 4, 1978.
Robust growth is also adding to the appeal. Canada’s economy grew at 3.8-per-cent rate in the first quarter, a sharp pickup from the 2.6-per-cent annualized pace in the previous quarter, Statistics Canada said before the market opened.
The loonie has soared 14.5 per cent in the past year, the world’s top-performing currency, making factories’ goods much more expensive when sold outside of Canada. At the same time, the U.S. currency was little changed against the euro and the yen but has weakened throughout this month.
Continue reading this article »