Schaeffler To Shorten Hours At German Plants

Car parts company said Monday it would introduce a shorter work hours program at most of its 25 German production facilities for six months.

FRANKFURT (AP) -- Car parts company Schaeffler Group KG said Monday it would introduce a shorter work hours program at most of its 25 German production facilities for six months.

Each plant would adapt the program to meet its production needs, because some have more work and order backlogs than others, said Detlef Sieverdingbeck, a spokesman for the Herzogenaurach-based company.

The automotive division will be most affected by the shorter hours program, as carmakers in Europe have reported weak demand in recent months, while the company's industrial division has had more work.

Over the weekend, Schaeffler rejected criticism that its recent euro8 billion ($10.4 billion) takeover of auto parts maker Continental AG was too risky.

On Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel flatly rejected the idea of helping bail out Schaeffler, telling a meeting of her Christian Democratic Union party that the government would not "foot the bill for risky business decisions."

Schaeffler pledged Sunday to present a "viable" and "sustainable" concept for the future of the group, as it is seeking only "interim" state assistance in an effort to secure more than 220,000 jobs in both companies.

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