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Dispute between unions at Volkswagen hits stalemate

The management refuses to comment on the situation.

Zoroslav Smolinský(Source: TASR)

The bargaining that started on January 31 seems to have stalled, as the VW leaderships waits for the two unions to strike an agreement, the TASR newswire wrote.

The second round of collective bargaining, on February 8, has brought no progress, chair of the Modern Union Volkswagen, Zoroslav Smolinský, informed TASR. He claims that the plant organisation of the KOVO VW SK Union is blocking the negotiations by not proving the number of its members as had been agreed in the first round of the collective bargaining process.

The Modern Union was established after a dispute within the original KOVO VW SK Union, between its then-head Smolinský and Emil Machyna of the nation-wide OZ KOVO umbrella organisation. OZ KOVO decided on dissolving the Volkswagen branch in October 2016, and Smolinský founded the Modern Union which – according to him – represents more than 7,000 employees. These two organisations, however, have had several disputes since then, including over property which exceeds one million euros. Moreover, the basic branch, KOVO VW SK Union, cannot prove how many members it has.

The chair of the original union, OZ KOVO VW, Branislav Chmúrny admits he is not able to tell the precise number of union members but he blames Smolinský for this, arguing that the latter has withdrawn original documents proving, among other things, the registration of OZ KOVO members. Smolinský should have given the documents to the Bratislava IV District Court but has not done so at this time, Chmúrny told TASR.

The company management refuses to comment on the internal issues of the unions. They will make a statement after the collective bargaining has ended, spokesperson of the Volkswagen Slovakia, Lucia Kovarovič Makayová, told TASR. The results of the bargaining will involve more than 10,000 employees. The Modern Union is bringing 11 proposals to the table, including the increase of salary charts by 16 percent, unification of the holiday bonuses with the Christmas ones, increasing the rates of individual bonuses, better remuneration for shift-work, prolonging paid breaks during working hours, and more.

However, if the two VW SK unions fail to strike an agreement, the employer will negotiate with the stronger union, asking an arbiter authorised by the Labour Ministry to decide which one that is.

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