Hundreds of VW Employees Protest in Front of Bratislava Factory

VW Slovakia. (Photo by TASR)

Bratislava, September 13 (TASR) – Hundreds of members of the staff from Volkswagen Slovakia joined a protest in front of the factory in Bratislava on Tuesday to vent spleen over what they call discrimination against relatively more senior employees by the management.

“The protest ended up as we had planned. We had roughly 800-1,000 people there; the weather was good, too. We called on the management to deliver their statement. Unfortunately, the management didn’t want to have their say. We’ve also got support from the plant in Wolfsburg, Germany,” TASR was told by chief trade unionist at VW Slovakia Zoroslav Smolinsky.

According to him, part of the staff is uneasy with the fact that the management is giving out extraordinary perks to new people in order to achieve the desired number of employees at the plant. As opposed to existing staff, new people are entitled to free transport for six months and a one-shot bonus of €500. Smolinsky calls this discrimination.

“If the personnel situation in, say, one month gets even worse, will they perhaps offer food for free to the new people? We’ll then have three categories of the staff – those with food and travel for free, another group with only travel free of charge, and then the senior staff that must pay for everything … The mood on production lines really isn’t good,” said Smolinsky.

If the situation doesn’t change, the trade unions will stage a further, tougher protest. “We’ll wait for two days for a response from management to what has happened. If they don’t react, we’ll call on them to do so,” said Smolinsky, adding that if there is no response, the unions will initiate a blockade of access roads to the plant.

Meanwhile, management claims that all groups of its employees can receive some perks from its social programme. “It’s set up so that both junior and senior staff could find perks for themselves or their families. Some perks depend on the number of years spent with the company, while other perks can be drawn at the beginning of the work contract. The social programme is flexible and is regularly adjusted to employees’ needs,” said VW Slovakia spokesperson Lucia Kovarovic Makayova.