It’s historic, it could cost up to €5 million and right now it’s an impasse.
The 24-hour strike at Palmela’s Autoeuropa car manufacturing plant began at 11.30pm last night and is the first walkout of its kind in the plant’s 25 year history.
At issue is the production of the new VW T-Roc that requires workers to work on Saturdays, with no rights to habitual rates of overtime.
As workers in the picket line have explained, it is being seen as management trying to achieve objectives by imposing a working regime akin to modern-day slavery.
This far, no one interviewed appears concerned that the T-Roc was designed to breathe new ‘life’ into the plant and account for 24% of its foreign exports.
Nor do protestors believe their stand could see production moved elsewhere.
Earlier in the week when negotiators still hoped to avert the walkout, news reports talked about the strike costing the plant as much as €5 million, and holding up the production of 400 cars.
Autoeuropa employs around 3500 men and women, and produces VW Sharan and Sirocco models, as well as the Seat Alhambra.
Today’s strike has been supported by “almost the entire workforce”, say newspapers, with those few crossing the picket line incapable of any kind of production.