Czech PM wants to discuss potential Skoda production move with company, unions

Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka speaks to journalists at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic May 4, 2017. REUTERS/David W Cerny

PRAGUE (Reuters) - Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka wants to meet leadership and unions at Volkswagen's VOWG_p.DE unit Skoda Auto to discuss any potential production move to Germany, the prime minister's office said on Wednesday.

Volkswagen sources told Reuters that managers and unions are seeking to curb competition from the lower-cost stablemate, move some of its production to Germany and make the Czech brand pay more for shared technology.

“The government has a clear interest which is that all planned investments by VW and Skoda in the Czech Republic are carried through and that production is not moved outside the country,” the statement said.

It said Sobotka intended to meet Skoda board member in charge of human resources Bohdan Wojnar and Skoda Kovo union chief Jaroslav Povsik soon, and would decide on further action afterward.

Povsik said a partial production shift could cost as many as 2,000 jobs.

“They want to fill capacity at the German plants,” Povsik told Czech news agency CTK in response to the Reuters report. “The VW Passat is not doing well, but they see the (Skoda) Superb is selling well and they would like to take it there.”

Reporting by Jan Lopatka