Last week, collective bargaining began at TPCA in Kolín. The most powerful trade union organization in TPCA, called OÚP, has already announced, that the negotiations will be tough. Labour unions submitted a common proposal for the Collective Agreement for 2020. The last collective agreement was signed for two years, which turned out to be a rather unfortunate solution as the number of cars produced was expected to decrease, but the opposite was true.

Furthermore, over the course of two years, it became apparent that the oral agreements which had been concluded at the negotiating table and which were not in Collective Agreement, had not been fulfilled or had been very hardly implemented. Another acute situation occurred when the labour unions headed by the OÚP wanted to open the topic of seniority in a collective agreement so that experienced employees would not leave. TPCA management refused, although the collective agreement allows it. After this experience, the OÚP wants every topic to enshrined in the collective agreement.

Currently, TPCA is running at more than 100%, production lines are getting faster and number of voluntary shifts is increasing. The press also reported that TPCA Kolín as the only Czech car manufacturer is increasing production. Therefore, the unions have agreed that the new agreement should be valid for one year, and the main point of negotiation will be salary increases for operators. The chairman of OÚP Mr. Petr Bíba comments: “We hope that wage growth will provide us sufficient staff and the satisfaction of existing employees”.

The unions, together with the company’s representatives, went to the English Toyota plant in Derby in July this year to collect experience with collective bargaining. Among other useful things they would like to apply in the plant in Kolín, they learned that the local average annual wage increase is around 4%. But an employee in England receives an incomparably higher wage than an employee here in the Czech Republic, and with simple counting we are able to calculate what the wage increase should be here, taking into account the cost of living. We are part of a family called Toyota, but we receive the smallest salaries in the world for doing the same work.

The unions choose seniority, overtime and Saturday supplements, better working conditions for employees and a few other topics as the main negotiating points. It should be noted that the temperature in the halls in the summer is sometimes over 30 degrees Celsius.

The existing collective agreement is valid by the end of the calendar year, we would like to start a new calendar year with the new Collective Agreement, but we are ready to act and fight hard for the rights of employees, using all resources allowed by Czech law. It is important for OÚP to have enough satisfied employees in the factory to meet very high targets in the production of our cars and keep a high standard of quality.