HANOVER, Germany (March 18)—Continental A.G. will invest more than $24 million this year in its Hanover-Stoecken tire plant to optimize tire production and process technology for commercial vehicle tires, after workers at the site agreed to a package of work rule changes designed to make the facility more competitive.
Among the changes agreed to are increases in automation, streamlining of the internal organization and the "pragmatic application" of flexible opening clauses in collective agreements, Continental said. These are designed to help cut costs and safeguard jobs in the medium term. Conti balanced a "necessary adjustment" in working hours by agreeing to pay into the employee pension fund.
The firm said the agreement came after "difficult negotiations" with IG BCE (Mining, Chemical and Energy Industrial Union) and the employee council at the Stoecken plant.
Both parties stressed that the agreement will help counter the persistent pressure on prices from both the automotive industry and the end users.