MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Volkswagen workers at its main Mexico factory rejected a deal for a 9% pay hike, an official statement said, voting for a second time against what would have been the country’s largest salary raise by an auto maker in recent years.
The union for workers at the plant in Puebla, in central Mexico, had initially sought a raise of more than 15% to account for soaring inflation, from salaries that range from $15 to $48 per day.
“The union and company representatives can now sit down again to continue negotiating and try to reach an agreement,” Mexico’s Federal Labor Center said in a statement early Thursday, after the deal was rejected with 3,450 workers voting against the deal compared to 3,225 in favor on Wednesday.
It said the Independent Union of Automotive Workers (SITIAVW), one of Mexico’s strongest independent unions, could now request a delay for a strike planned this Sept. 9 to allow time for the talks, or it could alternatively go ahead with strike action.
Volkswagen’s Mexico branch did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. The factory in Puebla, around 130 kilometers southeast of Mexico City, produces the German automaker’s Tiguan and Jetta models.
After the deal was first rejected, Volkswagen had said it was committed to “constructive dialogue” with the union.
The Labor Center had instructed the union to redo the vote in an effort to ensure higher turnout after workers rejected the deal in an Aug. 5 election with 70% turnout. Wednesday’s turnout reached over 97%, it said.
(Reporting by Kylie Madry and Sarah Morland; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Rashmi Aich)