Pressure on VW increases: IG Metall withdraws from Xinjiang

Status: 17/06/2022 11:39

So far, VW has remained at its factory in China’s Xinjiang region, which oppresses people belonging to the Muslim Uyghur minority. Now IG Metall is calling for the withdrawal.

The IG Metall union asks Volkswagen to close its plant in the Uyghur region of Xinjiang in China. There is now no doubt that human rights violations are taking place in this region, union chief Jörg Hofmann told the “Wolfsburger Nachrichten”. He himself is a vice chairman of the VW supervisory board.

No evidence of human rights violations at VW

Due to these human rights violations, the group’s board has to address the issue. There is currently no indication that human rights violations have occurred at VW itself. “However, the question needs to be asked of what it means for the company’s reputation to continue investing there,” said the Hofmann newspaper.

Since 2013, Volkswagen has operated a plant in the city of Urumqi together with the Chinese state-owned company Saic. China is Volkswagen’s largest sales market.

The Volkswagen plant in Urumqi (Xinjiang) in western China.

Bild: Picture Alliance / dpa

Don’t just look at “your backyard”.

VW can not only watch what is happening in its “front yard”, it must also pay attention to which “street” it lives. The head of the Hofmann union sees the need for action. The group must position itself visibly and unambiguously against human rights violations.

When human rights violations are visible left and right, I demand action.

VW: Improvement of the situation of the Uyghurs

The company has long been criticized for its presence in the Uyghur region, but has repeatedly denied it, arguing that its presence there helps improve the situation of the people. In a statement on the report, the group said: “We are not aware of any cases in which employees of the Volkswagen company Saic have been or are in detention camps.”

The Uyghur Muslim minority, oppressed by the Chinese state, lives in the Xinjiang region of northwest China. Recently, news about the internment camps made headlines again. There was also talk of a secret order to shoot in the fields.

No investment guarantee for VW

The Federal Ministry of Economy recently turned down Volkswagen’s investment guarantees for China in connection with human rights violations. The presidium of the supervisory board should also be addressed on the subject, which according to insiders will meet next week. The Prime Minister of Lower Saxony Stephan Weil (SDP) also sits on the committee. In October, a new state parliament will be elected in the federal state.

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