April 15, 2015 / 2:05 PM / 5 years ago

Unions at VW's Czech unit Skoda raise strike threat over pay hikes

PRAGUE, April 15 (Reuters) - Unions at Volkswagen’s Czech unit Skoda Auto threatened on Wednesday to launch three- to five-day strikes, stepping up pressure in demands for higher pay, Czech media reported.

CTK news agency reported union and company officials would hold further talks on Thursday.

On Wednesday, union workers cut their working day by one hour as part of a protest demanding a pay rise higher than the 3 percent raise offered by management.

Unions have asked for a 5 percent hike, CTK said.

The union’s leader Jaroslav Povsik could not be reached for comment. A Skoda Auto spokeswoman said the company respected its employees’ right to “present their opinions as they wish.”

The union’s weekly newsletter warned last Thursday that more action could follow, including an open-ended strike.

Skoda Auto is the country’s top exporter and employs about 24,600 people including temporary staff and provides work for tens of thousands more at supplier companies. It made a record operating profit of 817 million euros last year. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Keith Weir)

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