BUDAPEST (Reuters) -- Audi workers in Hungary are threatening to strike unless they get a back-dated pay rise.
AHFSZ, a trade union at Audi's factory in Gyor, Hungary, has formed a strike committee and is seeking a 20,000 forint (64 euro) per month wage hike back-dated to Jan. 1, along with a one-off 100,000 forint bonus and higher employee benefits.
The factory builds Audi's A3 and TT models, according to Automotive News Europe's European plant map. Production of the Q3 SUV is slated to begin in 2018. Audi employs 11,411 people at the plant.
The union said the latest round of talks on Tuesday broke down after its strike committee unanimously rejected the two counterproposals put forth by Audi management.
"With the talks continuing, [the committee] has authorized the leadership of the union to prepare and organize the details of a possible strike," it said in a statement published on its website.
The body says it has gathered signatures from over 7,000 workers in support of its demands.
An Audi spokeswoman could not comment immediately.
Car sector workers earned a gross 283,936 forints (904 euros) per month on average last year according to official statistics, above the national average of 247,800 forints.
Wider problem for economy
The local car sector employs over 100,000 people and the problems at Audi highlight a wider problem for Hungary's economy, which has been losing workers through to migration to western Europe and elsewhere. Any disruption to the car sector, which accounts for over one-fifth of industrial output and more than a tenth of exports, would spell trouble for Hungary's economy, already expected to slow from last year's 2.9 percent growth rate.
"There has not been a strike situation in the Hungarian private sector for years and now it all comes to a head at once because so many things have piled up," said Zoltan Laszlo, vice chairman at the Hungarian Metalworkers' Federation.
He said the body was aware of workers at five other companies, mostly in the car sector and employing about 10,000 people, considering some level of strike action over low wages and general working conditions, such as long working hours.