This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
Unions at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét, Hungary have agreed on a 24 percent wage increase in two stages, Hungarian news site Index reports. In addition, the unions have succeeded in negotiating a profit-sharing bonus, which is a new element.
Starting January 1, Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary Kft. will increase base wages by 17 percent and by another seven percent starting in August, according to several industry sources, Index writes. Together with other elements, such as a quarterly special payment linked to inflation and a newly introduced profit-sharing scheme for employees, the total benefits package for employees could increase by more than 30 percent from current levels.
In October, employees at the Kecskemét plant received an additional allowance equal to 60 percent of their base salary, due to rising utility costs.
The German automaker is making major investments at the plant, mainly because of the conversion to electric cars, so it is important to maintain employee satisfaction.
Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing Hungary Kft. recorded sales of €3.1 billion last year, while a year earlier this number was €3.4 billion. However, profit after tax rose to €67.6 million last year, from €39.3 million in 2020. The Mercedes-Benz plant in Kecskemét produced more than 135,000 vehicles last year, about 25,000 fewer than in 2020.
Mercedes-Benz is not the only car company in Hungary to give its employees a pay increase this year.
Wage negotiations at Opel started in September 2021, and the company will see an average increase of 12-27 percent in employee pay in 2022-2023 compared to the 2021 baseline. Audi Hungaria Zrt. increased its employees’ wages by nine percent from July this year, which is on top of the pay raise due based on a 2020 agreement. The company previously signed a three-year wage agreement, which will give employees a 36 percent pay increase over three years.
Wages in the automotive industry in Hungary are around 300,000-400,000 forints (between EUR 720 and 965). According to munkahelyeink.hu, a job-search website, a manufacturing operator at Audi earns net 238,000 forints (EUR 573). At Mercedes, an electrical maintenance technician’s salary is net 430,000 forints (EUR 1,035) with a yearly bonus of 670,000 forints (EUR 1,614).
Featured photo via MTI/Ujvári Sándor