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BRAZIL: Ford and DaimlerChrysler agree strike-break deals as Volkswagen holds out - report

By just-auto.com editorial team | 3 November 2003

A Brazilian union told Reuters it had reached deals with Ford and DaimlerChrysler to end strikes by thousands of workers demanding pay raises from an industry recovering from economic slowdown.

Thousands more workers at Brazilian Volkswagen factories continued to demand pay deals and the powerful ABC Metalworkers Union vowed to paralyse a key VW plant again on Monday, the report said.

"Volkswagen is the most intransigent of the companies," Jose Lopez Feijoo, president of the union once led by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, told Reuters.

Close to 25,000 metalworkers downed tools last Wednesday after rejecting a raise of 15.7% to compensate for inflation over the past year - the ABC union demanded a pay increase of 20%, Reuters said.

Feijoo told the news agency Ford and DaimlerChrysler had offered workers an 18.1% raise for those who earn up to 5,000 reais ($US1,755) a month while workers higher up on the pay scale will earn an extra 900 reais a month.

A Ford spokeswoman confirmed to Reuters the terms of the offer to its 4,751 workers at plants in Sao Bernardo do Campo outside Sao Paulo city and in Taubaté and Tatui in the interior of Sao Paulo state.

Workers will vote on the pay offer on Monday morning, Reuters said, noting that many Ford workers returned to the shop floor on Thursday to take part in stop-go strike action.

Reuters said VW, which has been hit especially hard by the economic slowdown in Brazil, has suffered the brunt of the strike as the 14,800 workers at its Sao Bernardo do Campo plant stayed away from work between Wednesday and Friday of last week.

Metalworkers at a truck factory owned by Sweden's Scania went back to work on Thursday after winning a pay rise close to Ford's offer, Reuters said and Feijoo told the news agency a deal similar to the Scania offer was reached with Toyota on Friday.

Workers at a General Motors factory are threatening to join the strike if the US car giant does not meet their wage demands, Reuters said.