German Federal Labor Minister Andrea Nahles Tours Volkswagen’s Logistics Centre

  • Visit to Volkswagen Logistics Centre in Wolfsburg
  • Minister lauds Volkswagen’s commitment to inclusion
  • Human Resources Board Member Dr. Neumann: Volkswagen safeguards the knowledge and skills of its employees with ability impairments
  • Group Works Council Chairman Osterloh: integration of employees with disabilities is part of corporate culture
Bernd Reimann, employee of Volkswagen Logistics, and Jörg Pott, Head of the Volkswagen Logistics Centre Wolfsburg, explain the use of the vacuum lifting pad to Andrea Nahles and Dr. Horst Neumann 

Andrea Nahles, the Federal Minister of Labor, today visited Volkswagen’s Logistics Centre at the “Westrampe” in Wolfsburg. Dr. Horst Neumann, the Board Member for Human Resources of Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft, Bernd Osterloh, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group Works Council, Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand responsible for Production and Logistics, and Thomas Zernechel, Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics, informed the minister and Klaus Mohrs, the Mayor of Wolfsburg, about the inclusion of employees with disabilities in everyday work and about efficient logistics.

Human Resources Board Member Neumann said: “It is the responsibility of every good employer to take care of its employees with ability impairments. At Volkswagen, we ensure that employees recovering from a long illness or suffering from severe disabilities can remain part of the Volkswagen team and perform valuable work. We offer them respect and also use our best efforts to retain their skills and knowledge within the company.
Group Works Council Chairman Osterloh emphasized: “For many years, it has been part of the corporate culture at Volkswagen to integrate employees with disabilities into everyday work.” In addition to prevention, the optimum design of substitute workplaces is a key element in inclusion at Volkswagen.

The conclusion drawn by Federal Labor Minister Nahles was clear: “It is no accident that Volkswagen received the national Inclusion Award.” She said that she had an opportunity to see that Volkswagen had earned this award at the “Westrampe” Logistics Centre. “I am very pleased when companies recognize the potential that employees offer despite an impairment,” the minister continued. “This is practical inclusion of the type we wish for everyone. Both sides benefit – the employees concerned and the company.

The UnternehmensForum, a national association of companies from a variety of sectors, presented the Inclusion Award for 2013 to Volkswagen in cooperation with BDA (the association of German employers’ associations). In 2014, the Board of Management, the Works Council and the Representative Body for Severely Disabled Employees of Volkswagen signed a joint declaration on inclusion. This declaration establishes inclusion as an key element in corporate culture at Volkswagen.

The Head of Volkswagen Group Logistics, Thomas Zernechel, underlined the importance of the modern facility for the Group’s world-wide logistics system: “The Volkswagen Group’s world-wide growth strategy is making greater demands on production and logistics. The task of logistics is to ensure supplies to plants and the delivery of vehicles with efficient processes and stable transport chains. Each and every employee, including employees with disabilities, plays his or her part in this effort.” Each year, some 60,000 vehicles and 320,000 m3 vehicle components are shipped to Volkswagen plants throughout the world via the Wolfsburg Logistics Centre.

Klaus Wenzel, Member of the Works Council and Disabled Employees’ Representative at Volkswagen, added: “Entries entirely free from barriers, height-adjustable loading tables for ergonomic working and vacuum lifters for heavy loads are key components of Volkswagen’s inclusion program.”

Peter Kaiser, logistics employee, was unable to perform his previous work as a result of back and circulatory problems. He found a new place of work that took account of his impairments in the Volkswagen Logistics Centre at the “Westrampe”. “I feel that I am respected here; if I have circulatory problems, people understand my situation,” he says.

The Logistics Centre focuses on environmental aspects, in line with the Group’s environmental objectives. The environmentally compatible use of recycled material in the wear courses under the asphalt, solar plants for hot water preparation and LED outdoor lighting at the facility underline this approach. Group Logistics is therefore making a key contribution to the Group’s environmental efforts. Volkswagen has undertaken to improve the environmental compatibility of its production by 25 percent by 2018, compared with the base year of 2010.