30 March: Some 12,000 of the 21,000 employees at Skoda walked off the job for an hour on the 30th of March, putting the company 240 cars under its daily quota of about 2,000.
Negotiations began with the unions, which originally demanded a 10 percent wage increase, while management offered a straight cost-of-inflation increase of 2.8 percent. In the new collective agreement signed between Skoda management and the unions that goes into effect retroactively from April 1st, employees will receive a 7 percent wage increase, for the regular wage and the 13th salary. In addition, they will receive an annual bonus of 3,500 Kc, said Jaromir Cvrcek, a trade union spokesman.
This has been the highest wage increase since the transition/end of socialist regime in 1989/90. Skoda is the Czech unit of Germany’s Volkswagen. The Czech workers earn about 800 Euros per month, which is the lowest income of the Volkswagen Group.
Comrades from the Czech Republic told us that the demonstrations and roadblocks were more or less under union control and that they heard of anti-German slogans being put forward by the unions (‘We are not a German colony’). The media warned openly that the strike at Skoda could spread to other international companies and car suppliers in the Czech Republic, such as Bosch, Siemens, Panasonic, and Philips.