Yesterday the Federation of Chemical Workers of Hungary (VDSZ) announced the start of an indefinite strike at the Hankook Tire factory in Rácalmás, Hungary. With this measure, the trade union is placing pressure upon the tyre maker to modify the terms of the wage increase it announced for 2019. What then is Hankook Tire offering plant workers, and why doesn’t the VDSZ like it?
As reported yesterday, wage negotiations between management at Hankook Tire’s factory in Rácalmás, Hungary and the union representing plant workers have reached a stalemate. Today, the Federation of Chemical Workers of Hungary (VDSZ) announced the start of an indefinite strike at the factory.
The trade union representing workers at Hankook Tire’s factory in Hungary warns further strikes will take place unless pay rise demands are met. In a statement, the Federation of Chemical Workers of Hungary (VDSZ) warns that strikes could occur as soon as today.
On 1 March 2016 around 100 Chinese Hankook tyre workers protested against the decision to move to a three-shift rather than a four-shift working pattern. However while some sources described this as strike action, Hankook representatives denied these claims and said production has not been affected.
Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has signed an agreement with Chengshan Group Company Ltd. According to the Findlay, Ohio-based tyremaker, the deal begins with the commitment that the Chinese joint venture Cooper Chengshan Tire (CCT) business will be independently valued and is said to position Cooper to resume regular financial reporting. Tyres & Accessories understands that the deal sets a floor value of at least US$435 million for the total company and perhaps more if the independent valuation comes in higher. Cooper’s share price rose 2.75 per cent (correct at time of publication) in response to the news.
Disagreement between members of the Kumho Tyre Workers’ Union (KMWU) and the South Korean tyre maker has led to disruptions in production at factories located in Gwangju and Gyeonggi provinces. Union members set the ball rolling with a one-day strike on March 25. Upon their return, the 3,400 employees at the two plants were apparently asked to sign individual agreements pledging not to strike. A lockout was then announced.
Staff at Cooper Tire & Rubber’s plant in Melksham went on a no overtime strike last week to protest changes to working conditions at the facility, reports Tire Review. It is believes that 500 workers there – members of the Unite union – have refused to take any overtime in a dispute over benefit changes, which include a cut in paid holidays, capping sick days, elimination of a late Saturday shift, and an increase in the mandatory retirement age, as well as overtime that has been forced by staff reductions at the plant.
Striking workers at tyre MRF’s Arakonam and Puducherry plants in India are considering surrendering their important ration and voter identify cards in protest against a wage agreement signed with a rival labour union. The worker’s sit-in strike began on May 9 and led to a lockout being declared at the Arakonam site on May 17. Production at both locations has come to a complete halt as a result of the industrial action.
Workers at the Pirelli facility in Carlisle have called off their planned three days of strike action after the tyremaker dropped plans to subcontract grinding operations to a third party. Despite previous assurances from Pirelli that the outsourcing would not result in job losses, more than 700 employees were scheduled to strike on August 3, 4 and 17 after 66.4 per cent of manual workers belonging to the Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&G) voted in favour of industrial action.
The retirement plans of 4,000 Michelin employees in the UK – including workers at the Stoke-on-Trent, Dundee and Ballymena plants and ATS employees – have been affected by the company’s planned closure of its final-salary pension scheme to existing members and decision to transfer staff onto a money-purchase plan. The company said this decision was made in the face of a continued deficit of more than £250 million, despite the fund receiving a £100 million top-up in recent years. In 2002 the company’s UK pension deficit sat at only £57 million.
The proposed changes would see members of its pension scheme cease building up any further benefits from January 1, 2009. Accrued pension benefits will be preserved and will remain linked to the employee’s final salary at retirement. Michelin stated that it plans to pay off the deficit in its final salary scheme over the next decade.
Workers at Bridgestone Australia’s Salisbury factory in South Australia returned to work on Monday (April 2) after a three-day lockout without pay. However, while they may be back at work, their pay dispute is no closer to being resolved and further industrial action has been planned for the coming weeks.
Colin Fenney from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union told Australian media that the lockout has only strengthened the workers’ resolve. “They’re a bit angry at the moment actually because, like I say, the company’s locked them out,” he said, adding that the employees had become ‘stronger’ and ‘more united’ through the experience.
In a continuation of the industrial action that has hampered operations at Bridgestone Australia since the start of March, on the evening of March 27 the tyremaker locked around 450 workers out of its Adelaide plant and suspended production for three days. The affected staff are mainly those working in a production or maintenance capacity at the plant.
Bridgestone claims its action was a necessary response to three weeks of union agitation, including strikes, overtime bans, and work stoppages. “This is about survival of the plant in a tough automotive manufacturing environment,” stated a Bridgestone spokeswoman.
Earlier in the day union representatives had met with plant management to discuss the dispute over pay rises, however the two parties failed to reach any agreement.
Industrial unrest is continuing at the newly privatised Bridgestone Australia plant in Salisbury, South Australia. The tyremaker has taken the decision to halt production at the plant while it tries to resolve its differences with the factory’s 600 workers. A union campaign in support of a new enterprise agreement began in early March.
The company stated on March 27 that the campaign – including overtime bans and four-hour stoppages – had caused significant disruption to production during the month. “Despite further discussions between the parties, an escalation in industrial action this week has forced the company to inform its employees that it has suspended production for three days, commencing this evening,” Bridgestone announced. However the company was quick to add that the decision would not disrupt customer supply and delivery.
Bridgestone also warned the workers of the consequences of continuing action that harmed the plant’s viability. Chairman and CEO Mac Ohashi said “Continuing industrial action may impact on the company’s capacity to pay future wage increases.”
Workers at the soon to be privatised Bridgestone Australia plant in Adelaide have gone on strike and are contemplating whether to continue their industrial action. The workers are seeking a 12 per cent wage increase over three years, considerably more than Bridgestone Australia’s offer of 6 per cent plus a AUD$2000 (£820) signing bonus and a productivity-linked $3000 (£1,225) over three years.
Bob Donnelly, speaking on behalf of the union representing the striking workers, stated that the tyremaker was paying its employees less than the industry standard.
Following a AUD$50 million (£20.5 million) deal approved by shareholders on March 20, Bridgestone Australia is set to become a private company. At present minority shareholders hold about 14.5 million Bridgestone Australia shares, while Bridgestone Corporation possesses more than 22 million shares, or 60.3 per cent. Bridgestone Corporation intends to offer minority shareholders AUD$3.40 (£1.40) a share, comprising of a return of capital of 50 cents and a fully franked dividend of $2.90. Following the buyout Bridgestone will be delisted from the Australian Stock Exchange on May 30, 2007.