About 6,000 workers at Volkswagen’s São Carlos and Taubaté plants, in São Paulo state, walked off the job on Tuesday.

They joined 12,400 employees of the automaker’s São Bernardo do Campo plant, in the same state, who all downed tools last Thursday, September 29.

The strike is to pressure VW to increase workers’ profit shares. Since August, Volkswagen do Brasil and the trade union have been negotiating but haven’t reached an agreement.

VW has offered $R4,700 (about $US2,000) per worker subject to an agreed production volume being reached in 2005 but the workers are demanding $R5,500 ($US2,340) with no output target strings attached.

Taubaté produces about 900 vehicles per day, while São Carlos churns out about 1,600 engines. São Bernardo do Campo assembles about 1,000 vehicles daily.

Now all VW’s factories in São Paulo state are strike-bound, only the plant in São José dos Pinhais, Paraná state, is still working. But without engines made in São Carlos, this plant is expected to reduce production from Wednesday.

Back in São Paulo state, Volkswagen is now the only automaker yet to agree on profit sharing with its workers. However, GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler and Scania have all said they’ll hand over $R5,000 ($US2,127) to every employee.

Rogério Louro