The works council election at VW next March promises to be more exciting than any previous vote in the co-determination body's recent history. Up to eight lists or individual candidates are competing for the 73 works council positions at the Wolfsburg main plant. Five days will be the election this time, due to the corona pandemic. In addition to the dominant IG Metall list headed by Daniela Cavallo, chairwoman of the General Works Council, there are three other lists whose initiators are disappointed and critical IG Metall members. The best known among them is the high former metalworker and works council functionary Frank Patta ("The Other List"). But also Norbert Lem and Michael Maginski (List: "We for you") were, like Patta, members of the current works council on the Metaller list. They too have decided not to run again for Cavallo's faction. Patta, Lem and Maginski were subsequently expelled from the group. Their support areas at the Wolfsburg main plant were taken away from them.
Norbert Lem: Many back the course of Group CEO Diess
While Patta above all the works council's location policy for the main plant and had criticized lack of transparency, Lem and Maginski have positioned themselves differently. In a letter addressed, among others, to VW's main shareholders, the Porsche and Piech families, and to Lower Saxony's Minister President Stephan Weil (SPD), they sharply criticized the works council leadership around Chairwoman Cavallo. He said that one wanted to draw the attention of the major owners "for a given occasion" to the fact that one the "reputation-damaging and share-price-influencing aberration of the current works council can no longer be supported". Their main concern is how to deal with Executive Board member Herbert Diess. The impression is created that the works council is not behind the head of the group – this is "in large parts negatively constructed". Lem told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur that certain circles want to see the head of the group replaced as soon as possible. "But the support for Diess is also quite high among many employees, and many find his course right," said Lem. The criticism of Diess is presented too sweeping. The founders of the "Wir fur Euch" (We stand for you) list want to run against the IG Metall faction in the works council elections in spring 2022. So far, she has recruited nine men and women to run for office.
The election could be very exciting this time
Frank Patta is said to have gathered 15 male and female candidates on his list. So far, the strongest opposition force on the Wolfsburg Works Council is the MIG 18 grouping. Its founder Antonino Potalivo had founded his list 15 years ago in protest against the involvement of the then VW works council leadership around Klaus Volkert in the corruption scandal involving favored employee representatives. With the Christian Metalworkers Union (3 seats) and the individual candidate Dirk Bose there are currently a total of 9 opposition members on the board, which is dominated by 65 IG Metall representatives. So far, the opposition groups have not worked together. However, constellations for coalitions could arise in the new works council. Depending on the outcome of the elections, representatives of the opposition could then succeed for the first time in gaining one of the important coordinating posts for an area in the plant. For Cavallo it is the first works council election as top candidate. In spring, she was elected by the internal committees to succeed Bernd Osterloh, who had moved to the Volkswagen management. She is the first woman to hold the post.