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Volkswagen's Slovak unit and union reach wage deal, ending six-day strike - VW spokeswoman
June 25, 2017 / 6:37 PM / 6 months ago

Volkswagen's Slovak unit and union reach wage deal, ending six-day strike - VW spokeswoman

BRATISLAVA (Reuters) - Volkswagen’s Slovak unit said on Sunday it had reached a wage deal with a trade union to end a six-day strike that has hit production at the country’s biggest private employer.

A VW logo is seen in front of the main building of the Volkswagen brand at the Volkswagen headquarters during a media tour to present Volkswagen's so called "Blaue Fabrik" (Blue Factory) environmental program, in Wolfsburg, Germany May 19, 2017. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

A VW spokeswoman said workers will get a 4.7 percent wage rise from this month, another 4.7 percent increase from January 2018 and a further 4.1 percent boost from November 2018 plus a 500 euro (£440) one-off bonus.

The deal is a compromise between the union’s original demand of a 16 percent hike over two years and the company’s offer of a combined 8.7 percent boost.

About 70 percent of VW’s 12,300 workers who joined the strike on Tuesday will return to work, and production lines that normally make about 1,000 cars a day will resume operations on Monday morning, the spokeswoman added.

The union confirmed on its Facebook page that an agreement had been reached.

“We’re ending the strike with a very successful negotiation. We managed to agree on a combined wage hike of 14.12 percent by November 2018,” union chief Zoroslav Smolinsky said.

VW produced 388,687 cars in Slovakia in 2016, including the Volkswagen, Audi, Seat and Skoda marques.

The company pays its Slovak employees, excluding top management, an average of 1,800 euros a month including bonuses, double the national average but less than half of the 4,200 euros earned by equivalent employees in Germany, according to the union.

    Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has supported the strike, saying Volkswagen should pay its Slovak workers the same pay as its western European ones.

    The Finance Ministry has estimated that 12 days of strike would have cut 0.1 percentage point off the country’s annual economic output.

    The company, which exports almost all of its output, did not comment on the impact of the six-day strike.

    Slovakia’s growth is seen at 3.3 percent this year and above 4 percent in coming years, with the auto sector the most important driver. Slovakia, with a population of 5.4 million, produces more than 1 million vehicles a year, making it the biggest per-capita auto producer in the world.

    Kia Motors Corp (000270.KS) and Peugeot (PEUP.PA) also have plants in Slovakia and Jaguar Land Rover[TAMOJL.UL] is due to open one next year.

    Reporting by Tatiana Jancarikova; Editing by Adrian Croft

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