Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/446/5314

From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2006

General Motors meets workers' resistance

GENERAL MOTORS is in trouble - and not just economically. With his recently announced plan to close down the factory in Azambuja, Portugal and to move the production of the Opel Combo to Zaragossa in Spain, GM-Europe executive Carl-Peter Foster has provoked workers' resistance in all of the company's European plants.

Daniel Behruzi, SAV (CWI Germany)

Production of the Opel-Astra and Zafira in the German factories of Bochum and Eisenach was stopped for several hours recently because of a workers' rally in solidarity with their 1,150 Portugese colleagues, threatened by the closure.

Last week, 5,000 employees attended a demonstration in the company's main plant in RŸsselsheim, Hessia. Similar actions have taken place in all 18 of GM's European plants.

GM workers feel threatened by the company's newest cuts-package, which is said to be worth E130 million.

The current "re-structuring" programme has led to wage cuts and the loss of 6,500 jobs in the German Opel plants alone.

This has been carried out with the consent of the leadership of the IG Metall union and the workers' council, Betriebsrat. But the closure of the factory in Azambuja has shown that GM managers want more.

The factories in Bochum, Antwerp (Belgium), TrollhŠttan (Sweden), Gleiwitz (Poland) and Ellesmere Port are supposed to compete for the production of the new Astra from 2010. Two of them might be closed then.

In Ellesmere Port, 900 jobs have already been cut recently. Altogether, 30,000 jobs at GM Europe are threatened.

The situation in the United States - the home country of the world's biggest car manufacturer - is no better. Twelve factories will be shut down in the next two years. 30,000 workers are supposed to leave the company. 25,000 have already taken a golden handshake and left 'voluntarily'.

But the workers in the European factories definitely do not want to give in to the management's plans without a fight.

The closure of Azambuja would be: "the beginning of the end of the production of motor vehicles in Western Europe", says the leader of the euro-workers' council, Klaus Franz. "We are preparing for a long conflict", he adds.

Nevertheless, it is more than doubtful whether the workers' council and trade union leaders will wage an effective struggle against the company's plans. They are very much tied to "social partnership" and think of themselves as better co-managers.

Franz especially has a long history of stabbing struggling workers in the back. In 2003, during the bitter East German metal workers' strike for the 35-hour week, he publicly spoke out against the dispute.

And when the Opel workers in Bochum went on a week-long 'wildcat' strike in October 2004, he did everything he could to put an end to the stoppage.

Because of this experience, there is a lot of scepticism among the activists in Bochum. "The workers are distrustful of the leaders of the trade union and the workers' council", reports JŸrgen Schwartz from the oppositional group Gegenwehr ohne Grenzen (Resistance without Borders). "But nevertheless, the protests, which are now taking place, are a step in the right direction".

He suggests that as the next move, the workers should deliver an ultimatum to the management. If they don't take back their plans to close down Azambuja, strike action on a larger scale should be organised.

 

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 29 June 2006:


Socialist Party NHS campaign

NHS SOS

Manchester marches to defend the NHS

Save our baby unit!

Take over the drugs giants

What the Socialist Party says:


Socialist Party youth and students

Young people - fight for your rights!


Socialist Party feature

SWP / Respect conference: Flawed perspectives


International socialist news and analysis

Greek students' protests ignite solidarity action

New regime in Somalia a setback for US imperialism


Socialist Party campaigns

G8 leaders fail to make poverty history

Police and fascists attack Moscow Pride

Fight back against homophobic bullying


Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Hands off civil servants' pension rights

Support striking Asda workers

Anger at leadership's tactics

Not just: " Lie back and Think of England"

General Motors meets workers' resistance


 

Home   |   The Socialist 29 June 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

General Motors:

triangleGeneral Motors - no to 'divide and rule' in Germany

Car workers:

triangleObituary: Derek Robinson, car workers' leader, 1927-2017

triangleBosses' pensions robbery

triangleFord workers vote for action

triangleWorkers fight back against race to the bottom!

GM:

triangleGenetic Modification: A contribution to the debate

triangleGenetic modification: A means of making profit

triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

Council:

triangleCorbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangleWe must fight all council cuts!

Strike:

triangleWorkplace news in brief

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

17/1/18

Women

Socialist Party women's meeting brings together members to share experiences

17/1/18

Newham

Packed Newham meeting against academies

17/1/18

Liverpool

Lobby pushes Liverpool council to oppose privatisation

17/1/18

Barking

Heating scandal on east London estate

17/1/18

Policing

Undercover policing legal challenge

17/1/18

Woolwich

No to the Woolwich monster block

17/1/18

Union

Workplace news in brief

17/1/18

Union

PCS union 2018 elections - nominate the left slate for a continued fighting leadership

17/1/18

Hackney

Hackney school cleaners strike

17/1/18

RMT

RMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

17/1/18

Yorkshire

Ferrybridge: Workers down tools over unpaid wages

17/1/18

Cuts

We must fight all council cuts!

17/1/18

Socialist Party

Southern Socialist Party conference

16/1/18

Birmingham

Home care workers to strike

12/1/18

Waltham Forest

Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle17 Jan Corbyn's Labour needs 100% anti-cuts strategy and fight for democracy

triangle17 Jan NHS crisis: under pressure from all angles - end cuts and sell-offs!

triangle17 Jan We must fight all council cuts!

triangle16 Jan Home care workers to strike

triangle15 Jan Carillion crisis: Demand action to save jobs and services

triangle12 Jan Outrage against 'monster block' plan

triangle12 Jan Mini-strike wave continues and intensifies

More ...

triangle18 Jan Waltham Forest Socialist Party: How do we get Corbyn's policies into Waltham Forest council?

triangle18 Jan Southampton Socialist Party: Is there a global nuclear threat?

triangle18 Jan Swansea Socialist Party: Is there a threat of nuclear war?

triangle18 Jan Cardiff East Socialist Party: Building Socialism in Cardiff East

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2