Audi México workers reject the 7% salary increase and continue on strike

Audi México workers reject the 7% salary increase and continue on strike
Audi México workers reject the 7% salary increase and continue on strike

The red and black flags at the Audi Mexico plant will continue to fly at the Puebla factory. Of the 4,161 unionized workers, more than 3,100 have rejected the manufacturer’s offer to raise their salary by 7% by 2024 and guarantee the extension of contracts for 12 months for temporary employees, an offer in extremis that the German shipowner put on the table to try to settle the labor conflict that broke out on January 24. The company’s independent union has decided to continue fighting for an increase of at least 10% in its salary for this year, despite the car manufacturer’s warning that continuing the strike will jeopardize the attraction of future projects to the State.

After a day of more than 12 hours, the union has announced the results of the vote: 83% of voters, equivalent to 3,139 votes, rejected the proposed 7% increase, only 632 participants in the vote said yes . Of the register of workers with the right to vote, of 4,161 people, some 3,778 went to the polls this Friday at the Cultural Complex of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. Thus, the union has reported that it will continue to fight and strike to achieve the 15% increase. The Mexican operators of this plant, where about 700 premium vehicles are manufactured per day, claim that they earn 13 dollars less per hour than American workers: “We workers are resisting on our own and we will resist as long as necessary, hopefully soon.” Let’s negotiate again. There should be no reprisals, we should be a role model,” declared the union leader, César Orta, at the conclusion of the vote count at the stroke of midnight this Friday.

For Audi workers in Puebla, the salary increases that employees of other automakers have achieved have not gone unnoticed, mainly from its neighbor, Volkswagen, who in August of last year accepted an increase of more than 8% in salaries. Orta insists on the salary gap with other players such as General Motors in Guanajuato, where the union achieved a 10% increase in salaries. The Independent Union announced the modification to the guard schedule, now the workers will have to go every 14 days to monitor the accesses to the plant in San José Chiapa.

The manufacturer’s in extremis offer to start paying back wages from the following week and to deposit the January food vouchers to the more than 4,000 workers, who broke out on strike on January 24, was of little value. The state automotive sector already estimates the losses for the company at more than 10,000 million pesos due to the paralysis of its production lines. Through a previous statement, Audi México warned that continuing with the strike would compromise the attraction of new projects for the plant.

From the early hours of this Friday, a handful of buses from the company itself transported workers to the BUAP Cultural Complex, where the vote took place. On social networks he noticed the long lines of workers waiting for their turn to vote. By rejecting the company’s offer, the conflict returns to its starting point: employees and managers will have to sit down again at the negotiating table to renegotiate the employment contract.

The labor conflict has given rise to a cross-talk between local business representatives and union bodies. The president of the Business Coordinating Council of Puebla, Héctor Sánchez, called on the union members to stop the strike because each day without activity represents a loss of 700 million pesos, according to his calculations, and they assure that if the production lines continue to be stopped Labor instability will be generated in the State that will harm the attraction of foreign direct investment. From the other trench, the local leader of the Confederation of Mexican Workers, Leobardo Soto, advocated for a fair wage for the thousands of workers in this Mexican factory.

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