Renault's Dacia workers threaten pay strike

BUCHAREST, March 13 (Reuters) - Thousands of workers at Romanian car maker Dacia, owned by France's Renault RENA.PA, plan to go on strike to press demands for a pay rise, union representatives said on Thursday.

“Negotiations with the management have so far proven totally unproductive ... They offered us a 9 percent rise overall,” Ion Iordache, a leader at the Dacia trade union told Reuters.

Dacia workers earn around 1,070 lei as basic salary on average a month, pre-tax, he said.

Workers want a pay rise of 550 lei ($320) a month in 2008, union members said.

Iordache said workers at the plant, which produces the low-cost Logan model, will stage a two-hour warning strike on Friday starting at 1100 GMT, and if their demands are not met a general strike would be called for March 24.

Trade unionists said that wages at the plant were low compared to the productivity of the workforce and to the profit that each employee generates.

Average net wages in Romania jumped 30.7 percent year-on-year in nominal terms in January to 1,200 lei, boosted mainly by bonuses in the health and education sectors.

A Dacia spokesperson was not immediately available to comment.

New European Union member Romania is an attractive location for carmakers attracted by cheap labour, relatively low taxes and prospects for fast productivity growth. (Reporting by Radu Marinas; Editing by Rory Channing)