Slovak Jaguar and unions successfully end first talks on wages

Jaguar Land Rover has not yet launched the production in its new EUR1.4bn car plant in Nitra, but has successfully finished the first round of talks with trade unions, local Hospodarske Noviny daily writes. Trade unions have demanded 13.5% pay hike in the negotiations which have lasted for months. Head of Modern trade union MOV Peter Mrazik has commented that although the company has not met the demanded by trade unions wage hike, the agreed increase was one of the biggest one-off pay increases in the Slovak automotive industry ever. HR director at Jaguar confirmed that the company and unions have agreed on a framework of the collective agreement, the details of which would be subject to further negotiations.

Jaguar Land Rover is investing EUR1.4bn in its new car manufacturing plant in Nitra and the EC cleared the provided by the government EUR125m state aid as compatible with the EU rules. The plant is due to have a production capacity of 150,000 cars per year (Land Rover Discovery to be the first model to be manufactured) and is expected to employ some 3,000 people directly (it currently employs over 1,300 people, 97% of whom Slovaks, and 75% of them coming from this region). According to the original plans, the plant’s operations were to be launched in early-November, then the launch-day was shifted to early-September, but following wage and bonus disputes with unions, the start of the operations has been shifted to early-October, apparently this target date has been also missed. No up-to-date information has been provided when the plant will start operations and whether the plan for the first deliveries to be shipped to customers around end-year are still viable. Delay in the launch of the operations at the Jaguar’s plant, respectively, delay in the first shipments to customers is negative news in our view as virtually all forecasts for strong GDP growth acceleration next year have factored in the plant’s operation and exports.

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