18 January 2013 17:04 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--Trade unions at Poland's Zaklady Azoty Tarnow (ZAT) on Friday initiated a wages dispute, arguing that the chemical group cannot hope to fulfil its plans to become an "EU major" without improving workers's remuneration.
"We believe that the building of a big, strong fertilizer and chemical group is not possible without the will to establish satisfactory working conditions and wages for the employees," said Adam Odolski, head of the Movement of Workers at ZAT.
The unions' announcement that they had declared an official dispute with ZAT's management came after earlier on Friday the European Commission said it had no competition concerns about ZAT taking a controlling stake in fellow Polish chemical group Zaklady Azotowe Pulawy (ZAP).
This will enable a merger that will lead to the establishment of Grupa Azoty, set to be Europe's second largest fertilizer producer behind Norway-based Yara International.
The ZAT unions said they were concerned that ZAT employees were often earning significantly less per shift than counterparts at two ZAT subsidiaries, fertilizer and titanium dioxide (TiO2) producer Zaklady Chemiczne Police (ZChP) and fertilizer and oxo-alcohols maker Zaklady Azotowe Kedzierzyn (ZAK).
ZAT employees should also be entitled to less onerous working conditions and higher Easter and Christmas bonuses, they added, without outlining their demands in detail.
Talks with ZAT management over the detailed demands were continuing in an effort to stop the dispute triggering industrial action, the unions added.
ZAT was not immediately available for comment.
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