Slovakia: Metal sector concludes multi-employer agreement 2015–2016
OZ Kovo, the metalworkers' union, is the biggest trade union association in the private sector and collective agreements in the mechanical engineering sector belong to the most important agreements in the industry.
On 19 May 2015, the President of trade union OZ Kovo, Emil Machyna, and the President of the employer Federation of Mechanical Engineering (ZSP SR), Alexej Beljajev, concluded, after long-lasting negotiations, the multi-employer collective agreement in the sector for 2015–2016. Negotiations started in September 2014 and consisted of several bargaining rounds. Disagreements mainly concerned wage increases. Wage bargaining usually concerns two wage components – fixed 'tariff wages' and additional variable payments, like wage supplements and bonuses. Both components in total make up the 'average wages'. Trade unions demanded, in line with OZ Kovo's bargaining strategy, to increase monthly tariff wages by €30 and average monthly wages by €40. Negotiators from ZSP SR rejected these proposals. Employers proposed a 2% increase in tariff wages but refused to negotiate on the average wage increase. They also proposed to decrease the lowest tariffs, in the first and second scales, below the minimum wage level.
Trade unions lowered their demands and proposed to increase monthly tariff wages by €26 and later on by €19. In relation to the wage increase, employers also required agreement on participation of trade unions in the system of work standardisation. Because of long-lasting disagreements, in early May trade unions considered asking the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family to begin a conciliation procedure. However, social partners reached an acceptable compromise on 19 May – to increase tariff wages by 2.92%, or €16 per month, on average. Besides wages, financial compensation was agreed for retiring employees leaving the company by agreement, for instance. The agreement covers about 21,000 employees. Recently, OZ Kovo proposed to extend the agreement, but no decision has yet been taken on this matter.
Wage negotiations were also successful in car producer Kia Motors Slovakia in Zilina, northwestern Slovakia. Trade unions concluded a company-level collective agreement for the next four years, which entered into effect on 1 April 2015. In 2015, basic, tariff wages will increase on average by 3.2%, or about €23 per month.