Workers at the Autoeuropa plant took strike action last week for the first time ever, in a dispute over Saturday working.

But unions are going into a meeting with a "good expectation" and confident that it will be possible to negotiate a deal on the issue, an official said on Wednesday.

"We’re optimistics," Eduardo Florindo of the Sitesul union, which represents the largest number of workers at the plant, told Lusa. He declined to comment further on the unions’ strategy.

The meeting has been schedule for 5pm on Thursday.

Autoeuropa agreed to the meeting after the strike held on 30 August, but company officials have said that they will only resume formal negotiations with the new Works Council, which is to elected on 3 October.

Nevertheless, the unions believe a deal will be possible that safeguards their members’ rights while meeting production needs.

The company has said that a new continuous shift system – under which employers would have to work some Saturdays without being paid overtime to do so – is necessary to guarantee production of the new model assigned to the plant.

According to VW, 41% of workers at the plant took part in the strike, stopping all production.