Volkswagen's Hometown Faced Hard Times in 1993

The automaker reduced workers' hours in an effort to avoid job cuts at its headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.
4:34 | 09/23/15

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Transcript for Volkswagen's Hometown Faced Hard Times in 1993
On the American agenda tonight what most Americans say is the absolute number one concern in their lives the fear that they will be without a job headlines are relentless. In the last two weeks to more major corporations Xerox and RJR Nabisco announced they will reduce their respective work forces by 10%. On the agenda tonight a company with the same goal improving its efficiency but with a much different solutions. Our agenda reporter Garrick Utley on an experiment in Germany. Both or Germany is a company town a city in fact the home of folks bought them the largest auto maker in Europe which is now making labor history. Like other German companies folks fog and has been battered by foreign competition and a deep recession. In October the company announced it would have to lay off 30000. Employees 13 of its workforce. Half of those layoffs will be here in both sports. This community of 130000. Combat and tolerable and so did folks. What do you do when you cut. And since chances streets. Sexson the tone or hunting knife that's it's impossible. Sold the company proposed radical solution a four day work. It's 100000 workers who earned 10% less but their jobs will be guaranteed for the next two years. And depending on the recovery perhaps longer. For folks bog and that will be an immediate savings of up billion dollars a year. Almost everyone seems resigned to the deal that is what we heard at the well house favorite meeting place for folks bothered workers. Even with dad had been guilty about it I must ask myself if I was the one laid off I'd prefer to work rather than be unemployed. And now there is no alternative. I don't think some should lose their jobs and others keep theirs. During negotiations the powerful auto workers union recognized the crisis and reluctantly work with management to reach the agreement. Who though none of our workers are going to child who when their incomes are reduced by 10%. A powerful swab and employees going to handle the loss of income. It's contingent Bernard gold he has worked 28 years for the company views of form and helping to design new models. He knows his family all have to make some cuts. With they won't warm body as these that we can't go on living the way we used to limits have been set and small. The four day work week may sound like an idea whose time has come better to have everyone employed at that shorter hours that massive layoffs. But let's really solve the problem in the long run you about the company and the country are more competitive in the world marketplace. Summit in Germany are skeptical saying even with shorter hours folks bug and still will be paying expensive benefits and administrative calls for more workers than it needs. There's no chance that this is the moment solution for. Pokes fun its workers nor society. Despite the skeptics the idea of the four day work week is becoming popular in your. In France where Air France employees recently took to the streets to block large layoffs unemployment is above 11%. And the French Parliament is considering a shorter work week for some major industries as much about as if the four day work week is a hot issue in Europe there is little interest in the United States where the business culture is less paternal and more demanding. More ready to fire workers to protect the bottom line. Some major companies such as DuPont have experimented with shorter work weeks in the past without much success. But DuPont's vice chairman says it could still happen in the United States. I think its north com. I think that mindset is going to change I think there will be more experiments throughout industry. Scroll says American companies will be watching the folks Boggan experiment carefully. Even through my annoyance and back in Germany for Barrick gold and 100000 other folks Bob and workers it is more than an experiment starting in January it will be a new way of life. Working four days a week and earning less. But this Christmas season garnered Volpe knows that his job is secure. And where this family bat is something to celebrate. This is Garrick up late for the American agenda and.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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