A German trade union alleged by competitor labor representatives of harboring neo-Nazis has broadened its existence on the works council of a crucial plant operated by luxury automaker Daimler, election results showed on Tuesday.
The Daimler works council at the Untertuerkheim plant located in southern Germany last month alleged neo-Nazis of using the Zentrum Automobil union as a base, with the aim of turning the factory into a display for their views.
In a vote to choose new representatives for the German automaker’s works council, which negotiates with management, Zentrum Automobil added two seats to bring its overall to six, while the IG Metall union extended its cause 37 seats from an overall of 47.
German media has reported that a number of labor representatives at Daimler’s head office in Untertuerkheim, which has 19,000 personnel, were associated with neo-Nazi groups and have voiced xenophobic views.
The reports come at a time of increased concern about the far-right after the rise of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has gone beyond the center-left Social Democrats in a nationwide opinion poll.
Employees established the Zentrum union in 2009, four years before the AfD was set up. Zentrum Automobil has said it opposes exporting jobs abroad and alleged IG Metall of conspiring with management to the detriment of workers.
Daimler has stated it opposes any far-right activity amongst its labor force and would monitor developments closely.
The automaker produced weaponries for the Nazis before and throughout World War Two, making the concern of possible far-right seepage especially sensitive for the business.