Kia trade unionists declare strike alert after failed wage negotiations

They gave the carmaker’s management until Friday to provide them with an acceptable offer.

(Source: Sme)

The trade unions at the carmaker Kia Motors in Teplička nad Váhom in north-western Slovakia announced a strike alert on Tuesday, April 10, after failing to agree with the carmaker’s management on a wage increase. The negotiations started in November.

“Our proposal is to increase employees’ salaries by €84 [per month], while the employer’s proposal is €70 on average,” said KOVO trade union KIA Žilina chief, Miroslav Chládek, as cited by the TASR newswire. “So the difference is €14.”

The trade union and the carmaker’s management have also failed to agree upon additional holiday for long-term employees and the length of validity of the agreement. While the trade union insists on one year, the company wants to sign the addendum for two years.

The carmaker’s management responds with a survey among employees.

“Kia Motors Slovakia is currently offering long-term employees an average salary increase of €107 per month, while the trade union organisation is demanding about €117,” said Anton Ondrej, human resources director and member of the company’s management. “So, the difference is only €10, due to which the trade union is threatening a strike. As during a strike employees are not entitled to salaries and the payment of bonuses tied to production is threatened as well, the staff would lose more money than the annual difference between the two offers.”

Employees in agreement with the carmaker’s offer received the wage hike on April 1.

The trade unionists gave the company a deadline of 15:00 on Friday, April 13, to come up with a proposal suitable for further negotiations.

“On Sunday [April 15], a meeting of our members will be held whatever the circumstances, and we’ll decide on the company’s current proposal, if we get any by Friday afternoon,” said Chládek. “If it’s a proposal that our members’ meeting will accept, we’ll head for an agreement. If the members’ meeting rejects it, we will decide on specific steps for a strike.”

Last year, the average salary of a production worker at Kia Motors Slovakia, according to information from January, was €1,458 per month, including basic salary and bonuses. This is €440 more than the average in the Žilina region.

Kia Motors Slovakia is the only Kia Motors Corporation production plant in Europe. It was built between 2004 and 2006. The carmaker currently employs more than 3,800 people in Slovakia.

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