Audi, BMW workers stage strikes amid talks over wages, hours

BMW staff at three factories in Dingolfing, Landshut and Regensburg in Germany were to down tools on Friday amid demand for higher pay and shorter working hours. (Reuters)
Updated 12 January 2018
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Audi, BMW workers stage strikes amid talks over wages, hours

FRANKFURT: Workers at German companies including premium carmakers Audi and BMW are staging further walkouts on Friday amid labor talks seeking higher pay and shorter working hours which are set to continue next week.
Powerful labor union IG Metall said workers at Audi’s main plant in Ingolstadt in Bavaria downed tools during the night shift and BMW staff at three factories in Dingolfing, Landshut and Regensburg were to follow suit on Friday.
Spurred on by the fastest economic growth in six years and record low joblessness, the union is demanding 6 percent more pay for 3.9 million metals and engineering workers.
It has also embarked on its first major campaign for shorter working hours in more than three decades, demanding that workers gain the right to reduce their weekly hours to 28 from 35 to care for children or elderly or sick relatives and then return to full-time employment after two years.
Employers have offered 2 percent plus a one-off €200 payment in the first quarter.
They have rejected demands for a shorter working week unless hours could be increased temporarily as well so as not to put output at risk.
Labor bosses and industrial employers took a small step toward a deal in regional talks in southwestern Baden-Wuerttemberg on Thursday, agreeing to appoint experts to look into the issue of working hours.
Some 160,000 workers have already taken part in industrial action this week to support IG Metall’s wage claims and the union has threatened to call for 24-hour walkouts if talks fail to make progress.
Labor talks for workers in Baden-Wuerttemberg will resume on January 24. Talks in Bavaria continue on Monday and in North Rhine-Westphalia resume on Thursday.


UAE gives 6,800 investors permanent residency under new ‘Golden Card’ system

Updated 3 min ago
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UAE gives 6,800 investors permanent residency under new ‘Golden Card’ system

  • Permanent residency will be granted to foreign investors after they invest a combined $27 billion in the Gulf state
  • The UAE cabinet also approved providing renewable 10-year visas to foreigners with investments in the UAE of at least 10 million dirhams

DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates said on Tuesday it will grant 6,800 foreign investors permanent residency under a new “Golden Card” system after they invested a combined 100 billion dirhams ($27 billion) in the Gulf state.
Typically, foreigners have renewable visas valid for only a few years, often tied to employment, but the government announced plans last year to ease its visa policy.
“We launched a new ‘Golden Card’ system to grant permanent residency to investors and exceptional doctors, engineers, scientists and artists,” Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai and the vice president and prime minister of the UAE, said in a tweet on Tuesday.
“The first batch of 6,800 investors with 100 billion dirhams worth of investments will be granted the ‘Golden Card.’“
In May last year the Gulf Arab state announced plans to grant long-term permits to investors, senior scientists and entrepreneurs, in an effort to support its economy and real estate market, which had been hurt by low oil prices, but had not mentioned the Golden Card.
Economic growth has slowed since a slump in oil prices in 2014 and white-collar professionals are seeing stagnant or even falling employment.
“The permanent residency ‘Golden Card’ will be granted to exceptional talents and everyone who positively contributes to the success story of the UAE,” Sheikh Mohammed said his tweet.
Last year, the UAE cabinet also approved providing renewable 10-year visas to foreigners with investments in the UAE of at least 10 million dirhams, if non-real estate assets account for at least 60 percent of the total. Investors can bring spouses and children into the country.
It also approved five-year residency to owners of UAE real estate worth at least 5 million dirhams.