Worker representatives at Audi’s plant in San Jose Chiapa, Puebla, have extended their strike deadline to Jan. 11 from Jan 1., as they seek to reach an agreement with the German automaker over pay raises.
The Independent Union of Audi Mexico Workers (SITAUDI) and Audi had previously negotiated two options to raise wages for the plant's 4,000 unionized employees. The first deal offered a 8.4 percent salary increase in 2023, while the second deal proposed a 9.4 percent increase next year, along with annual increases until 2026 in line with inflation, plus an increase of 1 percent, reported MBN.
Audi workers at the San Jose Chiapa plant felt disappointed by the two offered deals, said SITAUDI leader César Orta. “They voted ‘no’ and that is respectable. Union democracy was exercised and we respected the voice of the majority,” he told Reuters.
In November 2022, SITAUDI requested an 18 percent wage increase, leading the National Chamber of Transformation Industry (CANACINTRA) to label the action as “irrational.” The organization emphasized that the current economic situation has not helped the automotive industry to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Audi Mexico has produced over 700,000 vehicles since 2016, exporting the Audi Q5 to the entire world, except China. In 2021, the San Jose Chiapa plant produced the Q5 Sportback 2022, a vehicle “aimed at customers who not only appreciate expressive design and technological innovation but also sporty character and versatility for everyday use.” In 2021, the German automaker produced 137,634 Audi Q5 at San Jose Chiapa facilities, an 11-percent increase from its 2020 figures, said Audi México.
Audi’s plant in Mexico is the most modern facility of the German automaker in America and it enabled the creation of 5,200 direct jobs and over 20,000 indirect jobs across the value chain, according to the company. Volkswagen and Audi have also jointly worked to achieve more efficient logistics. Production from both plants is shipped simultaneously to the port of Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan.
While the German automaker continues working with SITAUDI to reach an agreement that benefits both parties, the second deal, which proposed a 9.4 percent salary increase in 2023, would represent the highest salary increase ever achieved in Mexico’s automotive industry. In September 2022, workers at Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Puebla accepted a 9 percent direct salary increase, which currently stands as the highest in Mexican automotive industry history.