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VW sets end-November deadline for scandal whistleblowers

Workers who contact internal investigators by 30 November will be exempt from being dismissed.

Car maker Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, central Germany. Picture: AFP.

BERLIN - Volkswagen has set a deadline at the end of November for its whistle-blower programme designed to encourage workers to disclose information about the carmaker's two emissions scandals in a move to speed up investigations.

Europe's largest carmaker has been making slow progress in finding out who had knowledge of the rigging of diesel emissions tests two months after the manipulations became public in the United States, and last week also admitted to cheating on carbon dioxide emissions certifications.

Under the whistle-blower programme, approved by VW's top management, workers who get in touch with internal investigators no later than 30 November will be exempt from dismissals and damage claims, according to a letter from VW brand chief Herbert Diess to staff seen by Reuters on Thursday.

"We are counting on your cooperation and knowledge as our company's employees to get to the bottom of the diesel and CO2 issue," Diess was quoted as saying in the document. "In this process, every single day counts."

His comments confirmed an earlier report by Sueddeutsche Zeitung jointly with German broadcasters NDR and WDR.

VW has said it hired advisory firm Deloitte and US law firm Jones Day to investigate under what circumstances the company installed software into diesel cars that changed engine settings to reduce emissions whenever the vehicle was put through tests.

A source at VW said the executive and supervisory boards initially sought to have the whistle-blowerprogramme run through the end of the year but, encouraged by recent positive feedback, decided to set the more ambitious end-November deadline.

Whistleblower programmes were successfully employed years ago by German engineering group Siemens and VW's truck-making subsidiary MAN to help unveil incidents of corruption amid ongoing bribery probes.

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