Kia Trade Unionists Declare Strike Alert

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Kia trade unionists declare strike alert (Photo by TASR)
Teplicka nad Vahom, April 10 (TASR) – KOVO trade union KIA Zilina announced a strike alert on Tuesday after failing to agree with the management of carmaker Kia Motors Slovakia on an amendment to the 2018 collective agreement.

According to KOVO trade union KIA Zilina chief Miroslav Chladek, the strike alert wouldn’t have been declared, based on a mandate from the members, if the company had accepted the trade union’s proposal. “This, unfortunately, hasn’t happened. The company presented a draft that isn’t identical with ours, so we launched a strike alert. Employees are displaying OZ KOVO [KOVO trade union] stickers on all three shifts, and we’re planning more meetings with staff, and clarifications. We’re planning a march for fair salaries on Friday (April 13). People will gather on the plant square. We’ll present a brief report on the state of the collective bargaining and march together to the gateman’s lodge,” said Chladek after the talks with the carmaker’s leadership.
The main differences between the trade union’s requirements and the employer’s offer are, according to him, related to salaries. “Our proposal is to increase employees’ salaries by €84 [per month], while the employer’s proposal is €70 on average. So the difference is €14. Then there’s a difference in the length of validity of an addendum. We continue to insist that addenda should be signed for one year. The company wants to sign the addendum for two years,” noted Chladek.
The firm’s management has also commented. “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. So, the difference is only €10, due to which the trade union is threatening a strike. As during a strike employees aren’t 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,” said human resources director and member of the company’s management Anton Ondrej.
According to Chladek, the trade unionists have given the company a deadline of 3 p.m. on Friday (April 13) to come up with a proposal on which they will be prepared to negotiate. “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. If it’s a proposal that our members’ meeting will accept, we’ll head for an agreement. If the members’ meeting rejects it, it will decide on specific steps for a strike,” added the KOVO trade union KIA Zilina chief.
The average salary of a production worker at Kia Motors Slovakia last year, according to information from January, was €1,458 per month, including basic salary and bonuses.
Kia Motors Slovakia is the only Kia Motors Corporation production plant in Europe. It was built between 2004-06. The carmaker currently employs more than 3,800 people in Slovakia.