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Aug 26, 4:38 AM EDT

VW: employee chief floats idea of taking stakes in suppliers

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AP Photo/Michael Sohn

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BERLIN (AP) -- Volkswagen's employee council chief is suggesting that the automaker consider taking stakes in suppliers after a dispute disrupted production in Germany.

Volkswagen on Tuesday ended the dispute with two suppliers who stopped delivering parts, briefly affecting nearly 28,000 workers at six plants.

Employee council chief Bernd Osterloh, who sits on Volkswagen's supervisory board, told news agency dpa in comments published Friday that the standoff suggests the company may need "an extra warning system" to reduce risks.

He added that "a conceivable approach to this is minority stakes" or rights of first refusal.

Osterloh noted that rival Toyota has stakes in many suppliers. He said: "I don't want to say that VW should take stakes in all its suppliers. But it would perhaps be a way at vulnerable key points."

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