Embraer averts strike, short talks break down again

 - January 31, 2007, 4:24 AM

Metalworkers at Embraer’s assembly plant in São Jose dos Campos, Brazil, ended their threats of a strike last month when they agreed to accept a 17.35-percent wage hike retroactive to November 1. In late November roughly 4,000 morning-shift workers voted to enter strike mode after rejecting an offer of a 16.15-percent increase. At the time the workers demanded a 20-percent raise and a reduction in working hours from 43 to 40 hours per week. Although it provided for a modest boost in the salary offer, the tentative deal reached on December 8 did not include a work-hour reduction.

Meanwhile, workers at Bombardier’s Short Brothers plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, ended a six-day walkout on December 3 after management agreed to suspend transfers to a controversial new afternoon work shift and end layoffs until at least April. However, negotiations ground to a halt within a week after the company again offered no pay raise for the first year of a proposed four-year contract. Negotiations have adjourned until after the Christmas holiday.

Under the terms of their current contracts, night-shift workers earn a 33-percent premium over day-shift salaries, while the afternoon shift–introduced last August–pays just 20 percent more. The unions have rejected company proposals to restructure work shifts to reduce premium payments.