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VW Employees in Slovakia Threaten to Strike Over Pay Increase

Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest carmaker, is offering employees at its Bratislava plant half the pay increase that unions are demanding and may face a halt to production because of a threatened strike.

The factory, opened in 1991, is involved in production of models including the VW Touareg, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne sport-utility vehicles and hasn’t suffered a strike yet. VW produced 210,400 cars at the plant in 2011. In the first half of this year it made 209,400, a jump of 122 percent from a year earlier.

Volkswagen is offering a pay increase of 3.2 percent starting in January 2013 and two single payments of 100 euros ($129) each, it said in an e-mail. The unions are asking for a 6.8 percent increase, the company said.

“We are confident that we will reach a deal this year from which all our staff will profit,” Boris Michalik, head of labor relations at Volkswagen Slovakia said in an e-mailed statement.

Vladimir Machalik, a VW Slovakia spokesman, confirmed that the head of the works council said that he is ready to negotiate and is also making preparations for a strike, as reported earlier today by Slovak news agency TASR.

“In the short term a strike shouldn’t be a big deal for VW as the company is anyway adapting its production to lower demand, but of course it will depend on length of the strike,” Michael Punzet, an analyst at DZ Bank in Frankfurt, said via phone.

The Bratislava plant also produces the VW Up!, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo subcompacts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christian Wuestner in Berlin at cwuestner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Jasper at cjasper@bloomberg.net

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