Long-term working time flexibility agreed at SEAT

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An innovative agreement was signed in May 2003 at the SEAT motor manufacturing plant in Martorell, Spain, providing for long-term flexibility of working time to deal with reduced production between June 2003 and March 2004, thus preventing redundancies. Reduced working time over this period will be recovered in 2004 when production increases.

In May 2003, the management of the SEAT motor manufacturing plant in Martorell, Barcelona (part of the German-based Volkswagen group) signed an innovative agreement with the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (Comisiones Obreras, CC.OO) and the General Workers’ Confederation (Unión General de Trabajadores, UGT), aimed at avoiding the damaging effects of a redundancy procedure at the plant. Production at Martorell plant has fallen due to the end of production of the Inca and Caddy van models, which will leave 1,100 employees without work from June 2003 to March 2004. In addition, EUR 26 million has been lost due to a strike at a supplier, Siemens VDO, located in Abrera, Barcelona.

The new agreement affects almost 9,000 employees and involves a 'solidaristic' distribution of the plant's production load through a long-term working time flexibility scheme. The trade unions have agreed to raise the number of days per year that employees work from 215 to a maximum of 233 from 2004, when production will again increase. Each employee will thus work up to 18 extra days a year (with a bonus for Saturday work) from 2004, while in the period of reduced production until then, their working time will be reduced by an equivalent amount overall to cover a certain number of days (yet to be determined) on which the various shifts will stop work on the different production lines. The number of days of stoppage must now be specified for each section of the plant.

It is also planned that, as of 2004, the SEAT plant will manufacture a new sports car model, according to the chair of the company, Andreas Schleef. The new agreement on the long-term flexibility of working time is seen as a factor that helped to attract this investment to the Martorell plant.

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