After a campaign of strike action that began on March 6, the union has today announced that it has successfully negotiated a wage rise that exceeds their initial demand of 18%.

Wages for workers at the South Korean company’s plant in Dunaujváros are set to be 18.5% higher on average.Details of the settlement include:

  • A 6% bonus for workers on the 6pm to 6am shifts, which was previously reserved only for those who relinquished their right to take 14 of their holiday days consecutively.
  • A substantial loyalty bonus which was previously received after 10 years work at the company will be paid out to all workers who stay for five years. A precondition that workers must have taken fewer than 8 days sickness leave has also been dropped.
  • Workers on the lowest wage scale will receive a 5% pay rise.

This victory was achieved in spite of strike breaking tactics employed by management, which included paying those who continued to work 50% more and an additional overtime allowance.

Management also threatened to fire workers who went on strike and replace them with workers from another Hankook plant in Mongolia.

The result was a big rise in union membership at the plant and a substantial drop in production.

Unfortunately union recognition has still not yet been fully achieved, but the union will be represented on a ‘working group’ to discuss conditions and production. 

At a press conference, Tamas Szekely of VDSZ thanked IndustriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global for their support and solidarity during the dispute and said the strike showed the importance of organising at plant level in the chemical and tire industry.

IndustriAll Europe general secretary Luc Triangle said: “We congratulate our sisters and brothers in VDSZ for securing this important victory in difficult circumstances for hard working people who deserve a fair share of the profits they are generating for this multinational company.

“This case once again shows it pays to be part of a trade union. It also demonstrates the benefits for workers – and employers – of agreeing wages and working conditions by bringing unions and management round the table through collective bargaining rather than industrial disputes.

“Hankook should learn the lessons from this costly dispute by fully recognising the union.”

Our strategic advisor, Ildiko Kren, also this week travelled to Hungary to deliver training on building trade union power in order to raise wages and conditions to members of VDSZ.