Mercedes-Benz will invest €1.2 billion in the production of vans in Spain to allow the expansion of the Vitoria factory. According to the unions UGT and CC.OO. the German manufacturer has made this decision after the workers supported the new labor agreement proposed by the company.
In Vitoria, Mercedes-Benz currently builds the Vito and V Class. In 2022, the company expects to assemble 158,000 vehicles in Vitoria, its second largest van assembly plant, and plans to increase production in the coming years.
According to union and company sources, Europe Pressthe workers of the Mercedes-Benz plant have supported with 57%, the preliminary agreement of the agreement reached by the management of the company and the CC.OO., UGT, Ekintza and PIM unions. In the referendum held this past Monday, the majority of the almost 5,000 plant workers They voted in favor of an agreement that defines working conditions and salary increases until 2026, allowing the carmaker to invest in the production of current models and new electric vans.
The workers had to opt for “yes agreement, no agreement”, which were the options that were collected in the consultation. Finally, participation has reached 94.69% of the workforce. The “yes” vote was supported by 2,601 workers (57%), while the “no” vote was chosen by 1,939 (43%). The remaining 14 votes were blank.
Tuesday of last week was when the management of the plant and the union majority made up of UGT, CC.OO., Ekintza and PIM approached positions and reached an agreement that was rejected by ELA, LAB and ESK, maintaining the three called strikes since they defended the no to the preliminary agreement in the referendum, in which, for the first time, telematic voting was allowed.
The preliminary agreement
The pre-agreement of the agreement, valid for 2021-2026, does not include the sixth night of work that had been initially proposed and guarantees, according to its defenders, work for “the coming decades, very important investments and more than 400 indefinite contracts.” In economic and salary matters, a single non-consolidable payment of 500 euros is included at the signing of the agreement and also, corresponding to 2021, a single non-consolidable payment of 4,000 euros.
Looking ahead to 2022, a consolidated increase of 6% is proposed and, from 2023 to 2026, a consolidated annual increase of 2.25%. In addition, the workers will have a new payment of 1,000 euros per year. In relation to the payment of results, up to 2,250 euros per year based on certain indicators (750 euros at 100% achievement) and, in the event of exceeding 200,000 vehicles, payment of 500 euros per year.
The agreement establishes that Saturdays will be convened ten days before the end of the previous month and will be worked as a general rule. The retirement of another 250 people is also contemplated through relief contracts for those who meet the conditions. Likewise, the conversion of 400 temporary contracts into indefinite ones will take place (150 at the signing of the agreement) and protected positions are planned for 150 people with limitations accredited by Factory Medical Services.
ELA, LAB and ESK allege as one of the reasons for their rejection of the strike that salary increases are not linked to the CPI, although from the other union side they reproach them for using that argument because they assure that, during the negotiation, all Unions gave it up. CC.OO., UGT, Ekintza and PIM defended the yes to the agreement considering that everything is improvements and there is no regressive measure and, from the direction of the company, they had also ensured that it is a good agreement that enables the investment of 1,200 million that had been raised for the plant in Alava.