Hopefully these strikes don't affect production.
Mercedes was able to score a big win over its competitors by outselling Audi and BMW in 2017. This is not good news for Audi and BMW, both of which are currently dealing with more pressing issues. According to reports by Reuters, workers at several Germany companies (including Audi and BMW) have been staging walkouts seeking higher pay and shorter working hours. IG Metall, a powerful labor union in Germany, said that workers in Audi's Ingolstadt plant in Bavaria stopped working on the Thursday night shift.
BMW workers at three factories in Dingolfing, Landshut and Regensburg planned to do the same on their Friday shift. These strikes were sparked by record economic growth and low unemployment rates that are the best in six years. The union is asking for 6% more pay for around 3.9 million metals and engineering workers. It has also asked for shorter work hours for the first time in over three decades. IG Metall is demanding that workers be allowed to reduce their weekly work hours from 35 down to 28 in order to care for children or sick relatives, then return to full employment after two years.
So far, labor talks have not gone in favor of the workers. Employers have offered a 2% pay increase plus a one-time $239 payment in the first quarter. Companies have also rejected the request for lower work hours unless hours could be temporarily increased to ensure that output doesn't suffer. As of now, it doesn't seem like Audi or BMW production has suffered in any meaningful way due to these strikes. Around 160,000 workers are taking part in this strike and are threatening a 24-hour shut down. Talks are set to resume on January 24th, so hopefully the two groups can reach an agreement.