Collective Dispute at Screw Factory Resolved
The collective dispute between the executive board and the trade unions at Śrubex, a screw manufacturer in the Polish city of Łańcut, has just been concluded with an agreement between the parties concerned. The agreement provides that redundancies to be effected at Śrubex will extend to less jobs than originally planned; in return, the employees agreed to abandon their demands for wage increases.
Śrubex is based in Łańcut, in the south-east of Poland. It is an international potentate in the production of screws and fastening elements; February 2005 saw a public offering of Śrubex shares and the company’s debut on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. These successes notwithstanding, the past months have been difficult ones for Śrubex, with results falling short of projections.
Towards the end of June 2005, three of the four unions active within Śrubex’s employing establishment - The Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union Solidarnosc (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy Solidarność, NSZZ Solidarność), the Electric Machine Industry Trade Union (Związek Zawodowy Przemysłu Elektromaszynowego, ZZPE) and the Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union Praca (Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy Praca) - approached the company’s directors with demands of wage increases by an average of 10% as of July. Apart from these remuneration claims, the unions also asked to be presented with a written programme for the company’s restructuring. The executive board of Śrubex rejected these demands, and a collective dispute ensued.
In late July 2005, the executive board of Śrubex announced its intent to lay off 180 employees (out of a total workforce approaching 800). These planned redundancies were explained in terms of a need to optimise employment dictated by organisational, economic, and technological considerations elaborated upon in a communiqué issued by the company.
The perspective of redundancies seems to have had a sobering effect on the parties to the collective dispute, and they eventually reached an agreement, concluding the dispute on 18 August. The unions gave up their demands for pay increases; the executive board, meanwhile, agreed to scale back the planned redundancies, firing 105 workers rather than 180, as originally contemplated. Yet more Śrubex employees may be axed if they do not agree to amended remuneration terms, as proposed in the new in-house remuneration rules. Redundant employees are receiving severance benefits corresponding to 4.5 times their monthly salary. The first termination notices will be served in late August / early September, and the round of redundancies will be completed by December 2005.
While the current conflict has been resolved, further employment downscaling at Śrubex may be imminent, to look at the restructuring plans presently being considered by the company’s executive directors. While the scale of future redundancies and their timeframe have not been exactly defined yet, the management of Śrubex have disclosed to the press that they will be striving for an employment level of 500 to 550 persons, to be achieved in two or three years’ time.
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