The local unions at Volkswagen AG’s Czech division Skoda Auto have issued recently a warning they consider walking out from production lines as they seek a positive resolution to their wage requirements.
Skoda Auto, the affordable brand of Germany’s VW AG, the largest automaker in Europe and the second biggest in the world, is the Czech Republic’s largest manufacturing firm. The workers’ union has recently declined to approve a company proposal for a 3 percent increase of the front salary during the negotiations on the new collective contracts, with the wage increase coming after a one-off bonus has been agreed upon. While the union itself has not disclosed the exact amount it wants wages to be amended, the website of the Czech Public Television has reported the representatives had asked for a 6.5 percent hike that was later on lowered to an undisclosed amount.
Now, according to the union’s weekly newsletter, the workers coming for morning and afternoon shifts would initially protest by leaving work an hour earlier on April 15 and then band together in front of the company’s headquarters to continue their pledges. The protest, titled “an hour minus”, would impact the company’s production levels, with “Further action is in reserve, including mediation … and an unlimited strike.” Skoda Auto has around 24,600 workers, temporary staff included, while tens of thousands of other people are linked to the automaker through its suppliers. The country’s largest exporter, Skoda had a great year in 2014, reporting a record operating profit that reached 817 million euros.