Unions at VW's Czech unit issue strike threat

Workers demand wage increase beyond 3 per cent offer

PRAGUE (Reuters) — Unions at Volkswagen's Czech unit Skoda Auto, the country's biggest manufacturing company, warned on Thursday they may take strike action to back their wage demands.

The union has rejected the company's offer for a 3 per cent rise in the basic wage in talks on a new collective agreement, on top of an already agreed one-off bonus.

The union has not said what increase it is seeking but the website of Czech Public Television has said unions had demanded 6.5 per cent but later dropped this to an undisclosed lower number.

Union and company representatives were not immediately available for comment.

The union's weekly newsletter said workers from morning and afternoon shifts would cut their work day by an hour on April 15 and would gather for a protest outside company headquarters.

The protest, called "an hour minus", will affect production, the newsletter said, adding: "Further action is in reserve, including mediation ... and an unlimited strike."

Skoda Auto employs about 24,600 including temporary staff and tens of thousands more at supplier companies. The biggest Czech exporter, Skoda made record operating profit of 817 million euros last year.

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