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Strike ends as Audi management, union reach wage deal

Management of the local unit of German carmaker Audi reached an agreement on this yearʼs wages with the Audi Hungaria Independent Trade Union (AHFSZ) on Wednesday afternoon, according to local news reports. The deal brings to an end a nearly week-long strike over pay at Audiʼs base in Győr (NW Hungary).   

The AHFSZ started an announced week-long strike over wages last Thursday, bringing production at the Győr plant to a practical halt and interrupting production at Audiʼs headquarters in Ingolstadt, southern Germany.

Under the wage agreement now reached, effective from January 1, 2019, until March 31, 2020, base pay will rise by 18%, but by at least HUF 75,000 per month, while workers will receive non-wage benefits up to an annual HUF 400,000 in both 2019 and 2020, the AHFSZ said on its Facebook page. The agreement also guarantees all workers at least one full free weekend every month from May 1, 2019.

The union had gone into negotiations at the start of the strike demanding an 18% wage rise, but no less than HUF 75,000 a month, plus annual non-wage benefits of up to HUF 787,000, an increase from HUF 620,000, and well above the management offer.

Earlier on Wednesday, state news wire MTI reported that the union had said its representatives rejected the managementʼs latest offer at "marathon talks" that ran late into the evening on Tuesday. As the end of the declared week-long strike approached, the union called a meeting of its strike committee, at which it said it would assess developments, on the basis of information provided by colleagues and the negotiating delegation, before laying out further options and steps to follow thereafter.

Subsequently, the AHFSZ chose to accept the managementʼs latest offer. The union indicated that production at the Hungarian plant would resume on Wednesday evening in all areas.

Audi Hungaria employs some 13,000 people at the base, of which the independent union counts more than 9,000 among its members.

On Monday, Audi had been forced to put production on hold at its headquarters in Ingolstadt, after deliveries of engines from Győr were suspended. An Audi spokesperson told MTI earlier on Wednesday that the forced shutdown in Ingolstadt would last at least until next Monday, with a decision on when to restart production expected to be taken on Friday.

Production at Audiʼs other plant in Germany, in Neckarsulm, was not interrupted, as it had enough engines in inventory, the Audi spokesperson noted, adding that the cost of the strike could only be calculated after it ended.