Audi’s German production hit by strike in Hungary

BUDAPEST – Audi has shut down production at its Ingolstadt factory in Germany until Wednesday after a strike at its Hungary plant led to lack of components such as engines, a company spokesman told Automotive News Europe.

Workers at Audi’s car and engine plant in Gyor, Hungary, went on strike on Thursday in a dispute over pay.

Audi builds the A3, A4, A5 and Q2 models in Ingolstadt, according to Automotive News Europe’s assembly plant map. The A3 sedan and convertible versions, TT coupe and Q3 SUV models are produced in Gyor.

Support for the strike increased over the weekend, Tibor Szimacsek, a spokesman for the AHFSZ union, said Monday.

Negotiations had failed to bring the two sides closer to an agreement at the plant, which employs more than 13,000 people and is one of Audi’s largest factories, Szimacsek said.

On Monday, there was a gathering of about 4,500 workers at the plant, Szimacsek said, to give support to an unusually powerful show of labor strength in Hungary, where large strikes are uncommon.

Audi declined to comment on the turnout. It said the automaker is continuing to strive for an agreement and had submitted its seventh wage proposal at the weekend. Unions negotiators rejected that package on Saturday, Szimacsek said.

Audi has offered a total 20 percent wage increase for this year and next, but the union wants an immediate 18 percent increase, and more down the line to give its workers greater parity with Audi’s Slovak employees, who the union says make 28 percent more, or its Polish staff, who earn 39 percent more.

“We asked Audi in Ingolstadt to send a high-level executive for the talks,” Szimacsek said.

The Hungarian economy has grown by more than 4 percent in the last two years and has become increasingly reliant on automakers and their subcontractors.

Audi’s Hungarian business contributes about 1.4 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, according to one local economist. Its $8.3 billion net revenue in 2017 was about 12 percent of Audi’s global intake, company data shows.

Daimler, Suzuki and General Motors also have units in Hungary, and BMW committed to building a large new factory last year.

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