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Hungarian turbine mechanics prepare to strike for fair pay

10 June, 2015Criticizing Granite management for breaking their word and continuing to treat Hungarian workers worse than colleagues elsewhere in the world, the members of VDSZ are preparing strike action at this General Electric subsidiary.

The Federation of Chemical Workers of Hungary, VDSZ is calling for international solidarity for its members at Granite Hungary. While Granite operates in 100 countries, at 2,500 worksites with 6,000 workers, the employment conditions of the Hungarians are much lower than the rest.

Granite workers conduct maintenance of turbines and compressors used in power generation. The company is based in Florida, USA and is a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric, GE.

The technicians are often on standby and react immediately when repairs are needed, which involves travelling to the site that can be anywhere in the world. While on standby the hourly wage of 3 Euros is low. The employment conditions while on placement are insufficient and Hungarians feel discriminated against.

After establishing their local trade union in 2014 and joining VDSZ, negotiations were conducted in April 2015 between the new local union and regional Granite employers. With workers’ demands still ignored now, and the employer not acting in accordance with that agreement, VDSZ is preparing for strike action to demand equal treatment as Granite employees elsewhere and correct, performance related wages.

The 30,000-member VDSZ’s President Tamás Székely, Substitute Member of the IndustriALL Global Union Executive Committee, is in dialogue with the Granite management. Solidarity messages to the Granite workers can be sent to [email protected].

IndustriALL Global Union Assistant General Secretary Kemal Özkan pledged the international’s support:

There is no justification for Hungarian employees of Granite being treated with less respect than the turbine-machine workers of the same company elsewhere. Their demands for equal treatment and fair wages are just. We follow their struggle and will celebrate their deserved wage increases when they are achieved.