German auto giant Volkswagen announced it is giving its staff a 3,950-euro bonus for 2015, despite suffering huge losses due to an emissions-cheating scandal which sent shockwaves through the industry.
The pre-tax premium — less than the 5,900 euros handed out for 2014 — comes after VW also revealed huge bonuses for top executives last month, sparking a storm of criticism among employees, especially at a time of salary negotiations.
“Volkswagen staff provided very good work as a team, despite the difficult situation,” said VW human resources chief Karlheinz Blessing in a statement.
“Their strong commitment deserved to be recognised,” he added.
After criticism about the bosses’ bonuses the automaker’s supervisory board decided at the end of April to freeze 30 percent of the annual payouts for nine director-level executives.
The frozen amount will be paid out in three years if the company meets stock market targets.
The executives’ bonuses sparked intense criticism both from the public and politicians, including German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
Volkswagen was forced to recall vehicles around the world last year after admitting it had installed so-called “defeat devices” aimed at cheating emissions tests into 11 million diesel engines.
The carmaker unveiled a loss of 1.58 billion euros after setting aside 16.2 billion euros in provisions to cover the potential fines, lawsuits and recall costs it foresees from the scandal.
It was the auto giant’s first loss since 1993.