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New collective agreement at Volkswagen in Russia

14 March, 2017Three months of intensive collective bargaining at the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga in Russia resulted in a renegotiated collective agreement at the end of February 2017.

The workers' side was represented by IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the Interregional Trade Union "Workers Association" (ITUWA), as well as the Innovative New Interregional Trade Union of Automotive and Related Industries and the works council.

The new collective agreement was signed at the Volkswagen plant on 22 February, the day before the expiration of the statutory three-month period. Negotiations started in November 2016. During this period, the ITUWA suggested more than thirty amendments to the agreement to improve workers’ positions. The employer was reluctant to adopt them, but after negotiation, agreement was reached. 

The union managed to keep all social benefits and guarantees which were part of the previous agreement. In addition the unions managed to obtain the the following results:

  • Employees’ wages will be increased by one per cent and 3,000 rubles (US $51) from April 2017;
  • Employees will receive two payments of 7,500 rubles (US $128) after their vacation and before the end of the current year;
  • Salaries will be increased by the inflation rate and by two per cent from October 2018;
  • Two payments in amount of 7,500 rubles will be made in 2018. The second one in December 2018 will be calculated based on inflation;
  • In the near future discussion of the new grading system for indirect employees will be launched. This event was postponed for two years.

“We managed to agree about the increase in the size of the salary to 5.4 per cent, and, considering the average wage, to translate it into a fixed amount. This is in the spirit of crisis time”, said ITUWA activist Anatoly Demidov.

The next objective for the union is to conclude an agreement on legal and labour relations in the next six months. The union will take as the basis the document adopted by Volkswagen in Germany. According to it, there are three levels of employee’s participation in decision-making: information, consultation and approval. In the case of approval management should receive permission from employee’s representatives, which will be the workers council at the plant in Kaluga.

Dmitry Trudovoj, chair of the Kaluga regional organization ITUWA, stated:

“Now we have signed an agreement of intention and have accepted the status quo. It is essential to conclude an agreement regarding legal and labour relations before August. Approval with employee’s representatives will become obligatory on all the questions except financing and investment. These issues will be discussed as part of consultations”.