Hanover (dpa) - Thousands of Continental employees are facing an uncertain future: the supervisory board of the auto supplier has confirmed the Group's comprehensive closure plans.

The tire plant in Aachen will be given up at the end of 2021, the location for car electronics in Karben, Hesse, by the end of 2024, as Conti announced in Hanover on Wednesday.

The Regensburg site is also to be rebuilt.

Around 4800 jobs are affected at these three locations alone.

In addition to the loss of jobs, this also includes retraining of employees and the relocation of jobs.

There had been loud criticism of the plans from unions and politicians: On Tuesday, around 2,000 people demonstrated in Hanover against the announced job cuts.

However, Conti is under pressure due to structural change and the Corona crisis.

The plant closings are also part of an austerity program announced last year and now tightened at the world's second largest auto supplier.

Conti wants to “change” a total of 30,000 jobs worldwide, 13,000 of them in Germany.

From 2023 onwards, the renovation should save more than one billion euros a year.

Employee representatives immediately criticized the decision of the Supervisory Board on Wednesday.

The chairman of the union IG BCE, Michael Vassiliadis, spoke of a “clear-cut concept” of the company.

"Continental has offended the entire team, damaged its own corporate culture and trampled on corporate co-determination," he said.

Christiane Benner, second chairwoman of IG Metall and vice-chairman of the supervisory board at Continental, criticized Conti for not fulfilling its social responsibility.

It is now about "alternatives to closings and the reduction of 13,000 industrial jobs" to examine.

Previously, Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) had been irritated by the extent of the austerity measures.

Conti argues with the economic environment.

The current crisis in the automotive industry is "bigger and more acute than anything we have seen in the last few decades," said CEO Elmar Degenhart.

"Structural change, falling sales and now the coronavirus pandemic: all of this comes together at the same time and together causes a historic crisis in the auto industry," added Ariane Reinhart, Chief Human Resources Officer.

Degenhart also emphasized, however, that the 30,000 jobs affected by the savings program did not automatically mean 30,000 layoffs.

Layoffs are "always the very last resort for us," he said.

Therefore, the employee representatives are now looking for the fairest possible solutions for the employees.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200930-99-772645 / 3