BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- Thousands of workers began a strike Monday at the Dacia-Renault car plant in southern Romania for improved pay and conditions.
Trade union leader Ion Iordache said that 10,000 workers were striking at the Mioveni factory some 110 kilometers (68 miles) northwest of Bucharest; the company said under half of the 12,000 work force were striking.
Workers want a pay rise that would amount to a near doubling of pay for some of the lowest paid employees who currently earn (euro160, US$248) a month, which is below the national average wage. They also want better bonuses and discounts on cars.
Dacia-Renault spokesman Liviu Ion said that that the company could offer a 19 percent wage increase, some three times the predicted inflation rate for the year, but the factory had losses of euro60 million (US$93 million) that made a higher offer unrealistic.
''It is normal to want a higher standard of living,'' but it has to be economically sustainable, he said at a news conference.
The strike was called after talks broke down between management and workers. Four thousand workers also went on strike on March 14 over the same issue.