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Volkswagen's Seat proposes cutting working hours at Spain plants

Volkswagen's Spanish car maker Seat factory is pictured in Martorell, near Barcelona, October 3, 2008. REUTERS/Albert Gea
Volkswagen's Spanish car maker Seat factory is pictured in Martorell, near Barcelona, October 3, 2008. REUTERS/Albert Gea

MADRID (Reuters) - Seat, the Spanish car firm owned by Volkswagen , said on Monday it wanted workers to take turns to stay at home in order to cope with a fall in demand.

It is proposing to have 571 workers a day stay at home at Martorell and Zona Franca, its factories in Catalonia, on a rotating basis, between September and December.

It wants to halt production for 16 days on one of its lines, between September and December, affecting 2,800 workers, and stop production for 35 days next year on another line, affecting 3,800 workers.

"The measures are aimed at guaranteeing the continuation of all staff at Seat as well as an adequate relationship between production and demand for our products in the market," SEAT said in a statement.

Seat had managed to halve its net loss to 30 million euros in 2012 and grow sales 20.6 percent to 6.1 billion euros thanks to successful sales of the Audi Q3.

However, like all car companies, it is battling weak demand in southern European countries. Spanish car sales fell 0.7 percent year-on-year in June.

Seat has made its proposals to unions and the regional government in Catalonia and said it would now hold a 15-day consultation period.

(Reporting by Sarah Morris; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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