March 24, 2008 / 12:02 PM / 12 years ago

Workers at Renault plant in Romania go on strike

CRAIOVA, Romania, March 24 (Reuters) - Thousands of workers at Renault’s (RENA.PA) Romanian car maker Dacia went on strike on Monday to demand average pay rises of 65 percent this year, halting production at the plant.

Dacia’s management have offered 19 percent pay increases.

“No car has left the assembly lines since we started the strike at 7 a.m.,” Ion Iordache, a leader at the Dacia trade union told Reuters. “No car will be produced if the management does not agree with our demands.”

The plant produces the Renault’s low-cost Logan model.

Trade unions said about 80 percent of the plant’s 13,000 workers were taking part in the strike, the second in five years. The management said less than half were on strike.

“Trade unionists’ demands are totally unrealistic given Romania’s current economic and social conditions,” Dacia communication manager Liviu Ion said. “We’re open to negotiations.”

Dacia workers earn around 1,900 lei ($790) on average a month, before tax, he said.

Ion said deliveries of Dacia cars had so far not been affected.

Carmakers are attracted to the new European Union member for its cheap labour and low taxes. However, mounting wage pressure is seen as a risk to the country’s economic stability.

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. (Reporting by Radu Marinas and Mihai Barbu; Editing by Sue Thomas)

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