HAMBURG/HANOVER (dpa-AFX) - The IG Metall trade union has leveled serious accusations against parent company Volkswagen over working conditions at shuttle service Moia. "Overall, Moia offers the worst working conditions in the entire group," IG Metall negotiator Thilo Reusch said Thursday. The employees worked in the Volkswagen environment at 174 hours per month for 13 euros per hour. "That puts them just above minimum wage."

With the cost of living in Hamburg and Hanover, where the all-electric minibuses are in use, it is illusory to "build up a livable existence with this monthly wage," he said. There is also no vacation or Christmas bonus. In addition, Reusch complained, the group is refusing to grant the approximately 1,200 employees an in-house collective agreement that is supposed to be based on the regulations of Volkswagen's subsidiary Volkswagen Group Services.

"If Volkswagen allows Moia to employ their drivers with such dirty conditions, we will draw our consequences," the unionist threatened. He added that his colleagues are absolutely prepared to fly the flag for their concerns as well. "Then the fleet will stand still," Reusch said.

A company spokesman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur that Moia is an independent company and mobility provider within the Volkswagen Group. It offers drivers attractive working conditions, he said. "These include a transparent remuneration system with an appropriate hourly wage and bonuses (25 percent at night, 50 percent on Sundays and 100 percent on public holidays), flexible working hours and a wide range of other benefits, such as subsidies for the Deutschlandticket."

He added that this was also reflected in the steadily rising number of applicants and hires. The spokesman emphasized, "On average, drivers come to earn 2700 euros a month." In addition, they receive an inflation compensation bonus of 1000 euros. According to employee surveys, the drivers' job satisfaction is on average more than 80 percent./klm/DP/stw