German truck maker MAN is to slash working hours for 5,300 workers in Germany from next month, the head of the group\'s trucks division Anders Nielsen said in a newspaper interview Tuesday. \"After Christmas, we\'ll introduce short-time work at two plants starting from January 14. We\'ve already reached an agreement with the works council,\" Nielsen told the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The two factories concerned are in Munich, where 3,500 workers will be affected, and Salzgitter, where 1,800 employees will see their working hours cut, he said. Under short-time work schemes, employees have their working hours reduced for a limited period, but the state, in the form of the Federal Labour Agency, partially makes up for the corresponding shortfall in pay. The measure was used widely by German companies during the crisis of 2008-2009, and helped avoid widespread layoffs. Nielsen said the exact extent of the scheme has not yet been agreed, \"but we want to remain flexible.\" However, MAN has formally notified the labour agency that the measure will initially be in place for the first six months of 2013, he added. \"We\'ll see after that. An extension beyond that is not being ruled. \"It depends how the market develops over the year,\" Nielsen explained.