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Trade unions at VW propose to end collective bargaining

The main trade union organisation is ready to strike, but the smaller one has doubts.

Volkswagen Slovakia in Bratislava.(Source: TASR)

The main trade unions organisation at Bratislava-based carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia (VW SK) proposes that collective bargaining talks should be ended. The decision follows the disagreement with the employer on an increase in employees’ salaries.

If the last meeting scheduled for June 9 does not bring any agreement, the company may be paralysed by a strike, the TASR newswire reported.

After the latest round of talks, the carmaker’s management has made no moves towards meeting the demands of the Modern Trade Unions (MOV) to raise salaries by 16 percent, said the organisation’s head Zoroslav Smolinský.

The company proposes a 4.2-percent increase as of this July, and another 4-percent rise in January along with a one-off bonus of €320. This however is not commensurate with the demands of employees considering the plant’ s financial success, according to the MOV.

“This collective bargaining is particularly difficult,” Smolinský said, as quoted by TASR. “People are ready to go on strike, we’re making all the preparations for it and hope that the employer will realise the risk involved.”

Read also:Trade unions at Volkswagen Slovakia threaten general strike

The MOV also acknowledged the right of a mediator appointed by the Labour Ministry to call more rounds of talks. That said, the trade union believes that the upcoming meeting on June 9 will be the last one, given their experiences so far.

VW SK has in fact two trade unions, which are at variance over the proposed increase in employee salaries. The smaller, OZ KOVO trade union, wants an increase in the base salary of €120 and an additional €40 in the extra component of workers’ emoluments.

Meanwhile, the chair of the OZ KOVO association Emil Machyna, doubts whether the preparations for a strike, as presented by Smolinský, continue as smoothly as he claims. Machyna reminded that back in 2015, the employees of the Bratislava factory, following a collective bargaining failure, were preparing for a strike under the baton of Smolinský.

“Unfortunately, 24 hours before the start of the strike, I asked if they had signatures and if everything was in accordance with the law,” Machyna said, as quoted by the SITA newswire. “He sent people to count the votes and found that 570 votes were absent and the strike would have been illegal.”

Read also:Lack of qualified labour drives up wages

Ultimately in that case, the unionists managed to reach an agreement with the management and conclude a collective agreement without a strike.

OZ KOVO is not rejoicing over the situation in the factory but they are prepared to support their members if they decide to join the announced strike, Machyna told the June 6 press briefing.

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Topic: Automotive


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