Talks on a new collective agreement between the Modern Trade Union Volkswagen and the management of the carmaker Volkswagen Slovakia ended without reaching any agreement on June 9. After the company's management did not accept the union's requirements for improved working and salary conditions at the plant, they are now considering a strike.
"We can't back away from employees' demands, as conveyed to us, for long," said union chief Zoroslav Smolinský, as quoted by the TASR newswire. "The situation that we've found ourselves in, after 11 rounds of talks doesn't please us but it's our duty to fight for our employees, on whom the success of this plant is based, even if it means a full-fledged strike."
The union is demanding a salary increase by an average of 16 percent.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Slovakia claims that it wants to continue the talks, with its spokesperson Lucia Kovarovič Makayová stating that the company wants to remain a "good, fair and stable employer", offering above-standard salary conditions and a generous social programme.
"Demands for salary increases of 16 percent are unacceptable, as this would significantly endanger the company's competitiveness and future, as well as the stability of jobs," said Kovarovič Makayová.
The last offer of the company was to increase salaries by 4.3 percent from June 1 of 2017 and at the same time grant a one-time payment of 350 euros for all employees and then to increase salaries by another 4 percent on January 1, 2018, according to the spokesperson.
Moreover, the company proposed a new way of counting holiday and Christmas bonuses based on length of employment and tariff class and also new methods that will ensure a significant increase of individuals’ tariff classes and the validity of the collective contract until December 31, 2018.
“When calculated with tariff class 6, the average tariff class in the company, those salaries will increase by €112 per month in six months,” said Kovarovič Makayová, as quoted by TASR.
Volkswagen Slovakia is now the biggest private employer in Slovakia with 12,300 employees. Employees of Volkswagen Slovakia received an average gross wage of €1,804 including the 13th and 14th salary and rewards for the economic results of the plant in 2016. This sum does not include the remuneration of top managers.