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Daimler employees get first profit-sharing plan in concern’s history

June 13, 1997

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) _ Daimler-Benz on Friday unveiled the first profit-sharing plan for non-management employees in the 107-year history of Germany’s largest industrial concern.

Premiums will be paid to the 137,000 employees at Daimler’s headquarters and its automotive facilities in Germany if the concern’s annual operating profits reach 1.5 billion marks, currently worth about $880 million.

Daimler had an operating profit of 2.7 billion marks, or $1.6 billion, last year, and its auto workers would get bonuses of 770 marks ($453) next spring if that result is duplicated this year.

Industry experts saw the plan should encourage employees to put extra effort into their work.

``It’s only right that workers earn extra money when the company does well and share the load when it doesn’t,″ said Michael Schickling, an automotive analyst at Commerzbank.

Workers recently have had made concessions during wage negotiations and now have the opportunity to get money back.

Karl Feuerstein, chief of the workers’ council, said the plan is ``compensation for the sacrifices and efforts ... that have been the main reason for the company’s successes in recent years.″

Daimler lost 5.7 billion marks, or $3.35 billion, in 1995 on currency losses and the restructuring of its electronics and aerospace units.

The profit-sharing deal resulted from intense negotiations between Daimler management and the workers’ council.

Last week, about 40,000 Daimler workers took to the streets across Germany to demonstrate for profit-sharing _ which was previously available only to management.

The deal announced Friday is a compromise on the size of the bonus workers will receive.

The works council had originally demanded a 1,000 mark profit-sharing bonus for eligible workers.

The company agreed to pay eligible workers 270 marks when operating profit reaches 1.5 billion marks. For each additional 100 million marks in operating profit, each worker gets an additional 38 marks.

The first of the annual premiums are to be paid out next spring.

Daimler said that the agreement won’t be be final until current talks over raising manufacturing productivity are ``successfully concluded.″ Those negotiations, which aim to add extra shifts at three automobile plants to meet strong demand, are expected to be wrapped up by June 18.

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