VW SK employees strike

New employees allegedly receive perks the older ones do not, trade unions say.

Volkswagen Bratislava plantVolkswagen Bratislava plant (Source: SITA)

Hundreds of employees from Volkswagen Slovakia (VW SK) joined a protest in front of the factory in Bratislava on September 13 to vent spleen over what they call discrimination against relatively more senior employees by the management.

The carmaker’s management, however, says that all employees can make claims for some perks.

“The protest ended up as we had planned,” said Zoroslav Smolinský, head of the trade unions at VW SK, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “We had roughly 800-1,000 people there; the weather was good, too. We called on the management to deliver their statement. Unfortunately, the management didn’t want to have their say. We’ve also got support from the plant in Wolfsburg, Germany.”

Part of the staff is uneasy with the fact that the management is giving out extraordinary perks to new people in order to achieve the desired number of employees at the plant. As opposed to existing staff, new people are entitled to free transport for six months and a one-time bonus of €500, Smolinský said, calling it discrimination.

“If the personnel situation in, say, one month gets even worse, will they perhaps offer food for free to the new people? We’ll then have three categories of staff – those with food and travel for free, another group with only travel free of charge, and then the senior staff that must pay for everything ... The mood on production lines really isn’t good,” he added, as quoted by TASR.

If the situation does not change, the trade unions will stage an additional, tougher protest.

“We’ll wait for two days for a response from management to what has happened,” Smolinský continued. “If they don’t react, we’ll call on them to do so.”

If there is no response, the unions will initiate a blockade of access roads to the plant.

VW SK management however claims that all groups of its employees can receive some perks from its social programme.

“It’s set up so that both junior and senior staff could find perks for themselves or their families,” said VW SK spokesperson Lucia Kovarovič Makayová, as quoted by TASR. “Some perks depend on the number of years spent with the company, while other perks can be drawn at the beginning of the work contract. The social programme is flexible and is regularly adjusted to employees’ needs.”

One of the recently added perks is also bus transport. Currently, the company secures the transport via 28 non-Bratislava lines and five Bratislava lines. As of October 1, 2016 they plan to extend five lines to the municipalities outside Bratislava, Kovarovič Makayová added.

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