Pay strike stops Romanian car production at Renault's Dacia

BUCHAREST, March 20 Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:24am EDT

BUCHAREST, March 20 (Reuters) - Romanian carmaker Dacia, owned by French Renault, stopped production at its Mioveni assembly line on Wednesday with employees striking in a dispute over pay, it said.

Dacia is the country's largest exporter, accounting for roughly 3 percent of gross domestic product, with more than 90 percent of output sold abroad. It sold about 360,000 cars worldwide last year, up 4.8 percent from 2011.

"We're negotiating on the collective work agreement," Anca Oreviceanu, spokeswoman at Dacia, told Reuters. "We don't know the impact on production yet."

Local media reports said Dacia's striking employees are seeking a 25 percent pay increase. The average gross pay at Dacia was 3,700 lei ($1,100) last year, which compared with a national average of 2,100 lei.

Trade unionists were not immediately available to comment.

Romania's economy, the EU's second-poorest, grew 0.3 percent last year and is expected to rise by 1.5 percent this year.

Hit hard by the world economic and financial crisis, Romania was plunged into a deep recession in 2009 and had to turn to the International Monetary Fund for help. ($1 = 3.4256 Romanian lei) (Reporting by Ioana Patran; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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