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:

triangleThem & Us

triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?

triangleSouth Wales: Fight for car workers' jobs

GM:

triangleGenetic Modification: A contribution to the debate

triangleGenetic modification: A means of making profit

triangleShould socialists support GM foods?

Council:

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleWales

Strike:

triangleDoncaster postal workers walk out

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

24/3/17

Doncaster

Doncaster postal workers walk out

24/3/17

Fujitsu

Fujitsu strikes: Manchester and Warrington

23/3/17

London

Jobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

22/3/17

Salford

Salford: International Women's Day meeting

22/3/17

Orgreave

Biggest ever protest by Orgreave campaigners

22/3/17

Unite

Battle steps up in Unite general secretary election

22/3/17

Aslef

Aslef offer: unity needed with the RMT

22/3/17

East London

East London demonstration against A&E closure

22/3/17

Tyneside

Battle for Wallsend walk-in NHS service

22/3/17

Cumbria

Join the march against NHS cuts and privatisation in Cumbria

22/3/17

NHS

We'll fight to save our NHS!

22/3/17

Workers

Workplace news in brief

22/3/17

Derby

Derby TAs' strike suspended after new offer

22/3/17

Public sector

End the seven-year public sector pay cap!

22/3/17

RMT

Merseyrail guard found not guilty of "endangering safety"

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle23 Mar Jobstown Not Guilty: pics of London protest

triangle23 Mar Unite against terror, racism and war

triangle22 Mar Northern Ireland: divisive election a warning to the workers' movement

triangle22 Mar Battle steps up in general secretary election before start of voting

triangle22 Mar Tory splits brought to the surface - Corbyn must go on the attack

triangle21 Mar CPSA to PCS: Fighting the 'Moderates' and building a fighting union

triangle20 Mar March against racism: Refugee Rights has lively bloc

More ...

triangle28 Mar Bristol North Socialist Party: The French elections

triangle28 Mar Manchester Socialist Party: The history of the CWI

triangle30 Mar North London Socialist Party: Stop the education cuts

triangle30 Mar Bradford Socialist Party: The French election campaign

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

March 2017

February 2017

January 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