How workers of Ford in Europe are fighting back 1 July: Luton 2 July: Birmingham 3 July: Oxford 4 July: London The crisis in the car industry is hitting hard. Union leaders have been responsible for negotiating shorter weeks and pay cuts. But where workers have taken decisive action important victories have been won. By striking and occupying plants, and the threat of international solidarity action, Visteon workers blew aside the myth that it was a separate company. They won their battle for the same redundancy and pension conditions as other Ford workers. In France, Ford workers in Bordeaux are campaigning against closure of the plant with a consequent loss of 10,000 jobs. After demonstrations, strikes, and the invasion of the Paris motor show, the plant was taken over by HZ, a German holding company, with the promise that jobs were safe. Is this a victory or another management trick? What strategy do we need to save our jobs? How can we develop shop floor international organisation? Can the skills and experience of car workers be used to develop alternative, socially useful jobs in car plants’ to support public services and fight climate change? Come and join the discussion to learn from the past and the present and take control of our futures. Meetings with Ford Bordeaux CGT members Wednesday 1 July, Luton 6.30pm, The Balti Nights, Wellington Street, Meeting hosted by Luton Trades Council. Thursday 2 July, Birmingham 7.30pm, in the Council House, Victoria Square . Meeting organized by Birmingham Trades Council Friday 3rd July, Oxford 7pm, East Oxford Community Centre, Princes St , off Cowley Road , Meeting called by Oxford & District Trades Union Council and sponsored by Unite Branch 5/625 South East Region Saturday 4th July, London 2.30pm, Friends House, Euston and with speakers from Visteon and Ford Dagenham, sponsored by TGWU (Unite) 1/1107 Ford Central Brach
Posts Tagged ‘Car Industry’
Workers at the Linamar plant in Swansea have voted in favour of an all-out strike in support of sacked union convenor Rob Williams.
Following the sacking of Unite union convenor Rob Williams at the Swansea Linamar plant, other workers have voted to strike to have their colleague reinstated. It is understood that turnout for the vote was 88%, with 139 voting ‘yes’ in support of the strike, and 19 voting ‘no’ against it.
A representative from the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) said of the vote:
“This is a marvellous vote in the teeth of mass intimidation by the Linamar management who have threatened the workers with the sack in the past if they took strike action to get Rob his job back. They are saying clearly in this vote that they will decide who they want as their convenor and not management.
“The vote by secret ballot under the onerous anti- union laws and in the face of an unprecedented recession in the car industry is a real indication that the workers know that what is at stake is not just Rob’s job but their very future, will they be able to have proper trade union representation or will they be forced to work under the dictates of the bosses with no rights to speak of.“
Williams was originally sacked on 28 April due to an “irretrievable breakdown of trust”. Bosses at the Linamar plant were said to have forced him off the premises after he had locked himself in his office, refusing to leave. Rob was initially called back to work, but later that week was sacked for good.
The workers have indicated that they will go on an indefinite strike until Williams is reinstated.
Williams was recently in Belfast speaking to members of the Socialist Party (of which he is a member), and other members of Belfast trade unions and political groups, as well as sacked traffic wardens. Williams, vice-chair of the NSSN, is scheduled to speak at their conference in London on 27 June .
Belfast Ford/Visteon workers vote to accept deal
Ford/Visteon Belfast workers today (Sunday 3rd May) voted 147 to 34 to accept the deal already accepted on Friday by Enfield and Basildon Ford/Visteon workers.
But workers have pledged that the occupation in Belfast, and 24hr pickets in Enfield and Basildon, will continue until the deal is signed, sealed and delivered to their satisfaction. Certain details of the settlement remain to be clarified.
Belfast Visteon workers to vote on new redundancy deal
Visteon car workers in west Belfast are to vote today on whether to accept a deal and end a bitter dispute over the collapse of the factory.
The Unite union said it had agreed improved redundancy terms with the company. The deal includes enhanced payments for redundancy, as well as compensation in lieu of notice and holiday pay.
Visteon workers in Belfast are expected to call off their month-long occupation at the factory if the offer is accepted. About 200 former employees in Belfast have occupied the site in the city since they were made redundant almost a month ago. Almost 600 jobs were lost at Visteon’s three plants in Belfast, Basildon and Enfield, with staff being given less than an hour’s notice.
Unite spokesman Roger Madison said the deal was “ten times what people were being offered originally”.
“They’ve only been offered this because of the actions taken, especially by the people in west Belfast – to lock themselves in a plant for nearly a month is refreshing – it’s old-fashioned trade unionism.”
The company was formerly owned by Ford, and Mr Madison said it was “the sort of closure package we would see if a Ford plant was closing”.
“Unfortunately we weren’t able to keep these people in their jobs, but in terms of a financial package, we think we’ve done the best we possibly can,” he said.
Donal Murphy, who worked at the Belfast plant for more than 40 years, said there were “mixed feelings” among former workers.
“They have offered a generous redundancy payment, but unfortunately they are still walking away from the pension – we will probably fight for that separately,” he said.
“For some of the younger ones with less service, it’s a great deal for them because the pension was not an issue for them.
“It’s different for the likes of myself, at our age and trying to get another job, because our pensions will be probably more than halved.”
Workers at the Enfield and Basildon plants voted for the new redundancy deal 178 to 5 and 159 to 0 respectively.
After an occupation and strike lasting over six weeks workers at the FCI
Microconnections in Mantes-la-Jolie have saved their jobs.
The strike began on February 24th with workers demanding assurances on their
future. Management refusal to give information on production at an equivalent
factory in Singapore and an announcement that there was ‘overstaffing’ led
workers to believe that the company was planning to shut the factory down
and shift production. Over half of the factory’s 400 workers occupied the
factory to prevent any removal of equipment.
Workers held the factory and picketed for seven weeks, in spite of a legal order
to quit the premises issued on the 26th of March. 100 workers responded by going to the company
headquarters in Versailles and blockading the chief executive in the building for
four hours to demand negotiations.
Management continued to deny that any redundancies were planned until the
CGT uncovered a document detailing a redundancy plan for November on the
3rd of April. This increased support amongst the workers, especially the
A week later after negotiations between the CGT and CFDT unions and management, mediated by the region’s sous-prefet and the work and employment bureau, an agreement was announced. The workers had succeeded in winning a guarantee that the factory would stay open until 2014 with no job losses before 2011. Workers also won payment for 27 of their 34 strike days.
The Ford motor company has had a parts factory on the Finaghy Road in West Belfast for years. In 1980 there were 1400 employees working there. By the year 2000 that had been reduced to about 550 or 600. At least some of that decline in the labour force is attributable to machinery improvements creating greater efficiency but also a planned run down was begun. In 2000 Ford created a sub-company which was initially called ‘Neuco’ then renamed ‘Visteon’ and treated it in some ways as if it was an independent company. Visteon never existed outside of Ford.
So if anyone was wondering when post-fordism started in Belfast, the Ford motor company would claim it began in 2000. However, the Ford flag still flew over the ‘Visteon’ factory until last week when workers seized control of their factory after being told that Visteon had been put into administration for bankruptcy. They were given 6 minutes notice that they were losing their job. So they simply stayed in the cafeteria to which they’d been summoned, wouldn’t leave the building. When the accountants and management eventually left the premises they didn’t let them back in. Now there is a union flag flying over the plant. But for the workers at the Ford/Visteon plant the real issue is still with Ford.
In the last 7 or 8 years Ford has deliberately rundown its Visteon plant, encouraging workers to take full pensions, early retirement or a severance deal. From almost 600 workers in 2000 there were 210 people employed in Belfast at the time of the attempted plant closure on Financial Fools day (April 1st 2009). Now that Visteon has been put into administration, neither Ford nor Visteon will have to pay those pensions. According to legislation the government (tax-payer money) is expected to fill the pensions gap. Even so some of the pensioners (4000 total in uk) would have a pension reduction by 10%. Many of the workers are asking each other, was this a deliberate Ford strategy from 2000, to offer full pensions because they knew they would never pay, they knew pension costs would be off-loaded to the public taxpayer! During the Ford/Visteon name exchange the Union had negotiated a separation agreement including promises that the amount of work Ford gave to its new Visteon plants would be equal or better but continually the parts contracts always seemed to be less.
The most important negotiation during the name change was that by European Works Council they got guarantee of the same pension, pay raises, holidays, and a mirror contract (The Ford book was orange and said “Ford”, the Visteon book was yellow but otherwise merely a reprint). However anyone with a company dumped into administration can escape all these commitments. Even though many workers that I met had been working in the Belfast plant for 30 or more years, statutory redundancy pay is capped. Because all the parts contracts that Visteon receives come from Ford, the Visteon company is really no more than an internal accounting unit that has been allowed to go bust. For Ford the ‘credit crunch’ may simply be a useful cover for an accounting and legal names hatchet job that was planned years before the bust.
Since 2000 the negotiation has been an ongoing process. The 520 agreement said that workers at one of Ford’s ‘Visteon’ plants had the right work in another Ford plant as Ford employees. At one point when a ‘Visteon’ plant in England was shedding jobs many of the employees flowed to a nearby Ford plant and replaced outsourced workers with temporary contracts. The workers at Visteon plants in England have nearby Ford plants in which they are potentially eligible for work, for example the Ford plant in Bridgend was 11 miles from the Swansea Visteon plant. However in Belfast, there is no such nearby plant. The 520 agreement only applies if the workers go to a Ford plant, so obviously the Belfast workers in Finaghy feel this plant closure is ripping the heart out of their community (the majority of whom are from greater Belfast area and a significant minority of which are directly from the immediate Finaghy/West Belfast area.
This is perhaps why the focus of the campaign is not on redundancy pay (as has been reported in the news) but rather the focus is on keeping the factory open. “I don’t want a redundancy package,” one worker told me. It was Belfast workers refusal to leave that inspired similar direct action resistance at the two other closing Visteon plants in Basildon and Enfield (England). On Wednesday a supporters’ march with a couple hundred people started at a local shopping centre and walked out to the occupied plant. The Northern Ireland Parades Commission normally requires 28 days notice before any kind of march can happen (because sectarian marches have resulted in violence). However the police were down to the plant the day before to fast track the permission process so that the March could go forward legally. Support for the Belfast workers occupation has so far been very strong from all quarters.
South Africa Connection: Although the account books for Visteon in England put the company in administration, the Visteon plant in Port Elizabeth, South Africa (a separate company within accounting world) has been financially stable making the same car parts for Ford motor company. One of the reasons for this is that Ford was purchasing the same car parts from the South African plant for $12-14 more per part than they were from the Belfast plant. For example, plastic fuel rails are made in Belfast (or Port Elizabeth) and shipped to the Ford plant in Bridgend (Wales) where engines are assembled and shipped to Germany where the Ford Fiesta is then put together. Apparently there is now a 12 week waiting list for new Fiestas in Germany because of a government scheme by which anyone with a car more than 9 years old who wants to trade up for a new car will be subsidized a couple of €thousand euro by the German government. The workers at the Belfast plant were quick to point out that there had recently been 7 critical failures on parts from the Port Elizabeth plant, possibly because helium leak tests (one of the stages of production) were not done there. Such a spate of failures would normally cause a plant to lose its Q1 standard rating (this rating is awarded internally by the Ford Company). Since I talked to the Belfast workers, a support agreement has been signed with other workers at some UK Ford plants. As far as I am aware UK Ford plants include Dagenham, Southampton, and Bridgend. The Hillrich plant was sold to Jaguar and is now making the new Tata. The Visteon plant in Swansea was given to Linamor, a Canadian firm with only 2 unionized plants (Swansea is one). The other three Visteon plants are of course the subject of this dispute. I believe they were meeting with the Bridgend Convenor (Wales). At that time they were hoping the agreement to include not handling parts from South Africa but I haven’t heard what was actually signed. Libcom is trying to confirm that workers from Southampton are blacking other Visteon parts http://libcom.org/news/belfast-hundreds-rally-support-visteon-workers-occupation-10042009
While in Enfield and Basildon direct action seems to be ending : http://libcom.org/news/enfield-ford-visteon-occupation-ends-no-conclusion-10042009 in Belfast the plant is still occupied and the stated aim is to reopen the factory. People want their jobs back, and they want to close the hole in the heart of the community. One Belfast trade unionist, commenting on the ordinariness of where things begin, said, “Who’d have thought the revolution would begin in Finaghy… !?”
Details written here were written down from conversations with occupation workers so some place names/spellings may need checked. More or less, however, the details should be accurate.
The following articles relating to the car industry can be found at : http://libcom.org/tags/auto-industry
Audio interview with Unite convenor at the occupied Visteon plant in Belfast, John McGuire.
Sacked workers from the car parts firm Visteon have been occupying three factories across the UK since Wednesday.
A group of disgruntled workers at a recently closed auto parts supply company in Windsor, Ontario have taken over the plant.
Contemporary article on the League of Revolutionary Black Workers from Radical America which, though uncritical of their nationalistic sentiments, contains a lot of interesting information.
A short history of the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement, detailing their beginnings as well as their opposition to the United Auto Workers union.
Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement’s attack on the racist practices of the hospital at the Hamtramck Chrysler factory.
DRUM’s attack on the spectacle of the Chrysler Corporation’s “milestone agreement” to “pour $1,000,000 into colored-owned banks in three US cities”.
The Unite union has negotiated a 10% wage cut for its members at Toyota plants in Derby and North Wales.
Account and analysis of a significant strike of auto workers in Romania early 2008
Workers at car parts manufacturer Karmann have walked out after being informed of 1400 job cuts no redundancy pay.
Workers at the Cowley plant near Oxford learned 850 jobs are to go, affecting agency staff from the weekend shift. Agency workers were given just one hours notice that they were being made redundant. Many of them have worked there for years but have no rights to redundancy pay.
Fascinating pamphlet by Solidarity on the informal workers struggle against the frenetic pace of work at a General Motors plant, and the later co-optation of the struggle by the auto workers union.
A new wave of redundancies and pay cuts hits car manufacturing in the UK, as companies aim to take back the cost of the recession from the workforce.
8,000 workers launched a series of co-ordinated strikes at automobile and electronics companies as it and employers spar over wage increases.
A nationwide strike against rising prices disrupted transport, retailing and manufacturing across Belgium on Monday.
Wildcat strikes and repression in the Special Economic Zone of Gurgaon.
Workers at major car industry plants in Brazil went on strike during September in support of their demands for improved pay.
Following a wave of strikes, the South Korean government has unleashed a massive attack against the Korean Metal Workers’ Union targeting more than 75 of the union’s key leaders for arrest or investigation.
This essay by Ferruccio Gambino first appeared in the book Operai e Stato (Feltrinelli, 1972). It was translated into English and published by Red Notes in 1976 as their first pamphlet.
9,000 workers striking at car plants in the south of the country have voted to extend their strike.
A short account of the South Korean strike wave of 1987 known as the Great Workers’ Struggle. Affecting most major industries and involving over a million workers, the strikes and militant tactics used won significant gains in pay and conditions for many.
Workers at a new nuclear power station in Plymouth and coach builders Alexander Dennis in Falkirk were both on wildcat strike this week.
A round-up of recent strike activity in Iran, including the car industry and agriculture.
Thousands of workers at the Iran Khodro car manufacturing plant are protesting the exploitation of precarious workers and demanding better wages and conditions.
With a planetary ecological crisis on hand, it can no longer be denied that socialism will be incompatible with mass production and mass consumption. Indeed, even without returning to Malthusian catastrophe theories, we are forced to admit that the planet’s resources are not inexhaustible. These resources could provide for humanity’s needs, but only if they are used in a reasonable and rational way, i.e., in a manner directly opposed to capitalist logic, which in itself is a source of imbalance.
The FIAT factory at Pomigliano (NA) in Southern Italy has been blockaded since Thursday April 10th.
Following three days of strike action at a tyre factory in northern Iran, Iranian security forces broke into the plant on Saturday and abducted at least 1,000 striking workers.
10,000 workers have walked out of the Dacia-Renault car plant for improved wages.
A history of the wave of strikes and occupations that gripped Italian factories and universities during the 1960s. Coming to a head with the Hot Autumn of 1969, independent forms of struggle used by workers represented a significant attempt to break from restrictive trade unions.
Workers at Hyundai (HMC) Ulsan plant in South Korea were on wildcat last week for higher wages.
Around five hundred staff at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, are reported to have walked out yesterday, over rumours that the company plan to axe 460 jobs.
Restaurant and tire workers have won strikes with a bus drivers’ strike ongoing.
More than 5,000 workers in Hai Phong City, 60 miles south east of Hanoi began a strike yesterday.
Over 2600 workers at the New River Valley plant in Virginia began strike action on Friday.
Workers at the Ledco tool and die plant in Kitchener, Ontario ended a three day occupation after a judge ruled it illegal.
Workers at Syncreon, formerly TDS Automotive, went on strike on Monday.
A wildcat strike broke out amongst workers at the Opel car plant in Antwerp January 8 in a row over pay.
Article examining the role of unions in the exploitation of workers, focussing in particular on the US car manufacturing industry from the 1930s to 1970s.
Workers at the Rolls Royce plant in Netherton today claimed the company had given them notice to close the factory with the loss of 220 jobs.
This death was the fourth suicide in a year by a worker at the Guyancourt technocentre site.
Workers at the exhaust factory in Wissembourg voted to begin a strike action on Friday.
Thousands of United Auto Workers walked off the job at General Motors Corp. plants around the country Monday in the first nationwide strike against GM since 1970.
A pamphlet detailing the working class areas around Oxford, written eighteen months after the poll tax riot.
Detroit auto-worker Martin Glaberman analyses the bureaucratisation and decline of the US trade union movement. An interesting article interspersed with historical information and personal reminiscences
There have been a series of stoppages recently at the Opel factory, due to management restructuring.
Workers at the truck factory in Oostakker, walked out during negotiations over pay.
An unofficial strike broke out at a Volvo Trucks plant in Umeå on Thursday. 150 workers downed tools for one and a half hours.
Workers at the Renault factory in Le Mans have been accused by management of sabotaging factory equipment.
Workers at the General Motors subcontractor, Delphi, in Puerto Real have gone on strike in protest at the planned closure of the factory.
Two weeks after a wildcat strike against layoffs, eleven Freightliner LLC workers in North Carolina have been fired.
Strikers at car firm SLM refused to vote on an agreement made by unions, judging the salary increase to be too low.
Union members at the tyre maker, Bridgestone, in Salisbury, South Australia have returned to work after a three-day lockout without pay.
With layoffs imminent, truck manufacturing workers in North Carolina walked out until union officials called off the action.
Workers at a plant in Guelph, Ontario struck on Saturday in support of sacked Toronto car employees occupying their plant for severance pay.
On Friday over 300 striking workers demonstrated outside the head offices of PSA Peugeot Citroën in Paris.
150 auto workers occupied their factory yesterday in a dispute over unpaid severance pay whilst hundreds more demonstrated outside.
The leaflet spread in Skoda/Volkswagen factories in three towns in February 2007 by KPK.
Car manufacturing workers at Hindustan Motors in India walked out on Monday.
Workers at Volkswagen AG’s Belgian plant on Tuesday approved a restructuring plan to work longer hours without extra pay in order to keep their jobs.
A strike halted production on Wednesday at U.S. car maker Ford’s plant near St Petersburg, one of the biggest in Russia owned by a foreign auto maker, after a months-long dispute over pay and conditions.
South Korean police said Monday they plan to seek a warrant to arrest the head of the union of Hyundai Motor Co., the country’s No. 1 carmaker, for an alleged assault at a company event.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the union representing about 12,600 union workers in the United States tentatively agreed Friday to a new contract that would end an 11-week strike over health care benefits and Goodyear’s plan to close a tire factory in Texas.
A critical, but balanced, picketline report about the current Goodyear workers’ strike in Topeka, Kansas by a member of the Kansas Mutual Aid Collective.
Workers at the Volkswagen plant in Brussels are on strike for a third week after the company announced upto 4,000 job losses there.
The VW factory in Forest, near Brussels, is facing 4,000 job losses after the company decided to transfer the assembly line to German plants.
Summary of an article about a strike for a 30% wage hike at Michelin in the Romanian newspaper Evenimentul Zilei, February 2005.
Article about the 2005 strike at Citroen and other struggles and issues in the European car industry, and the political situation in France, including the left, the EU constitution, and a wildcat strike of rail workers.
Strike at Citroën Aulnay, 2005
A short article about a strike against pay and break-time cuts at a Citroen factory in France, 2005.
First strike for thirteen years at Skoda, Czech Republic, 2005
30 March: Some 12,000 of the 21,000 employees at Skoda walked off the job for an hour on the 30th of March, putting the company 240 cars under its daily quota of about 2,000.
Strike at car supplier stops production at DaimlerChrysler, 2005
Germany: production halted in DaimlerChrysler plant when about 50 to 60 of the 336 workers at Dräxlmaier (Bremen) blocked the factory gates on Monday, 4 of April.
Spontaneous strikes at Fiat Mirafiori, Italy, 2005
Short article about a brief wildcat strike at Fiat on 21 April 2005
Update: European car-industry, 2005
Various short articles on different developments within the European car industry in early 2005.
VW cut wages and lengthen hours in Germany, 2005
Analysis of wage policies at VW in Germany.
New wage-model at VW, Germany, 2004
Article analysing new wage structures for 5,000 new manufacturing jobs at Volkswagen in Germany.
GM/Saab policies in Sweden, 2004
Article from the Swedish “workplace paper” Motarbetaren #5, September 2004 about General Motors/Saab policy and potential struggle in Sweden.
One week wildcat strike at General Motors/Opel in Bochum, 2004
Extensive background information and analysis, and an account of a wildcat strike of Opel/GM car workers in Germany.
Study on temp-work in German car industry, 2006
A recent study on temp work in the German automobile industry reveals that the companies in this sector try to hide the fact that they employ temp-workers.
Fiat – call centre report from Milano, Italy, 2002
Report from October 2002 about work, resistance and the possibilities for struggle in a Milan call centre.
Short article about the 2000 South African Volkswagen workers’ strike.
Account of a small but significant strike at a Skoda (owned by Volkswagen) factory in the Czech Republic.
The following article was written by comrades from the Czech Republic. Following their analysis of the strike at Skoda they investigated the development of the car industry in the Czech Republic more thoroughly, concentrating on Škoda/Volkswagen, TPCA (Toyota Peugeot Citroën Automobile) and the suppliers.
1972: Broadmeadows Ford workers’ strike
In June 1972 workers at the Broadmeadows Ford factory exploded smashing up their workplace, facing off police and forcing union bosses into endorsing a strike they had attempted to abandon. This is a short history of the events.
Tony Mcqade worked at British Leyland’s site 2 car plant in Speke from the late 1960s until its closure in 1978, as well being a shop steward at the plant for a number of years, and is now a full time official with the TGWU.
Brazil: Volkswagen workers on indefinite strike
Workers at the Sao Paulo plant approved the strike in a mass assembly of 10,000 workers, starting immediately in “direct response” to the firings.
A wildcat strike has broken out in Canada as workers at AGS Automotive plant walked out in a dispute over pay and work rate.
Workers from the Ryton plant in Coventry, due to be closed by Peugeot, demonstrated outside a dealership in Birmingham alongside members of West Midlands Anarchists on Saturday.
A member of West Midlands Anarchists speaks to libcom.org news about the impending closure of Peugeot’s Ryton factory near Coventry, which will cost thousands of jobs.
The Iranian government also has an internal crisis on its hands. The country’s high level of poverty has triggered a series of intense social struggles.
Mitsubishi workers took wildcat strike action last week over worries that DaimlerChrysler would close their plant when Smart ForFour productions ends.
Belgian car workers won a short strike to demand less work and more workers employed at their plant in Antwerp.
Workers at the Born NedCar plant walked out yesterday in a row over job cuts. The Dutch manufacturer NedCar is a joint-venture of DaimlerCrysler and Mitsubishi.
The Myths of the Toyota System – Nomura Masami
Workers for Delphi, a former subsidiary of General Motors, are facing 24,000 job cuts, the slashing of wages by 63%, and huge cuts in benefits such as pensions and health care.
The Toyota Kirloskar Motor Workers’ union yesterday announced that its members will begin hunger strikes today (Monday) to win its demands in the dispute which has escalated over the past three weeks with wildcat strikes and large scale arrests.
Bangalore: The State Government has prohibited the workers’ strike at Bidadi plant of carmaker Toyota Kirloskar Motor Private Ltd. and has referred all issues such as the sacking of three union activists by the management, this subsequent strike by the employees and the lockout to additional labour court for adjudication.
Bangalore: Over 1,000 employees affiliated to the Toyota Kirloskar Motor Union today resumed work after tendering a modified version of the ‘good conduct declaration’ prepared by the management.
1,300 employees at Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), were arrested on Saturday as they gathered at the State Labour Secretary’s office after buses failed to pick them up from work.
Toyota said it will end a 12-day lockout at its plant in Bangalore, India if employees sign a ‘good conduct’ pledge.
A brief account of sabotage at a car manufacturers in Detroit by Eugene, a carburator assembler.
This article from the Detroit news shows petty measures introduced by Ford managers recently to raise productivity.
Based on his experience in auto factories, Glaberman discusses the contradictions of the union’s role.
A short biography of French anarchist and factory militant André Nedelec.
A short biography of French anarchist and Michelin worker Gerard Ali Khanifar.
Workers at the firm’s factory in Swindon, which is not producing any cars at the moment, are set to receive a letter from the company stressing how “dire” the situation was for car manufacturing.
An official at the Unite union said negotiations were yet to be held on the company’s proposals.
An increasing number of companies are asking staff to agree to a pay freeze or even cuts in return for guarantees of no compulsory redundancies.
Unite’s regional officer Jim D’Avila said: “Honda is following Toyota’s lead. In return for no compulsory redundancies, the company is asking the staff to accept cuts in pay. No decision has been made.
“Unite’s priority is to secure jobs and give our members a fighting chance of coming through this economic turmoil with their jobs and livelihoods intact.
“Therefore the union will be entering into negotiations with management. We intend to ensure that these discussions are genuine negotiations which seek to produce a realistic outcome.
“Any decision will not be taken lightly. We expect Honda to ensure none of our members’ benefits are eroded in the long term and that these skilled workers will remain in place and at work ready for when the upturn comes.”
The letter, from Dave Hodgetts, director of planning and business, said: “From an economic viewpoint, we cannot find much encouragement for the next 12 months, as the downturn continues to affect car sales throughout Europe.
“The seriousness for the global car industry and the unpredictability of what will happen in the future cannot be underestimated, and make it extremely difficult to confirm a longer term plan. While we are not able to predict when the economic situation may improve we must continue to remain flexible to the ever-changing circumstances and be prepared to implement appropriate countermeasures in response.
“Honda Motor’s (HUM) financial situation has been dramatically affected by this economic downturn. The European and Japanese operations are most severely impacted with Honda Motor, Japan, forecasting an unconsolidated £321 million loss for the first time in its history.”
Honda said it had made “enormous efforts” to restrict and cut costs while protecting jobs, adding that a “small number” of workers had applied for voluntary redundancy.
The letter continued: “It seems unlikely at this stage that this final phase of the programme will be able to make a reasonable match between our planned and actual manpower for this next financial year.
“Our intention is to provide job security for those of you who remain committed to HUM and it remains our aim to maintain an objective of no redundancies. We believe the mutual trust between associates and HUM is always the key to our success. Therefore, we will manage to survive this severe situation by using a totally different approach than any other competitor.
“Looking at our conditions, overall Honda profitability, the European financial situation and the fact that we will have a significant level of surplus manpower, we will now need to take the action mentioned in the previous letter. In outline, this is likely to be a one year pay cut for all associates.
“We are fully aware that a one year pay cut could adversely affect your motivation and lifestyle, but we hope that if you are committed to HUM’s future, you will understand the necessity for this action and find ways to manage the situation.”
By Alan Jones, Press Association
Independent on Sunday, Business
Blog for the occupation of the Visteon Ford car parts plant in Enfield, north London which began when 200 workers were dismissed with no redundancy pay.
Sacked workers from the car parts firm Visteon have been occupying three factories across the UK since Wednesday.
The action began with an overnight sit-in at the Visteon plant in Belfast and employees are continuing their protest at the factory. More than 100 workers have staged a sit-in, the Unite trade union has said. Earlier, it was announced that 565 staff would go at Visteon car components plants across the UK. Most of the jobs have been lost with immediate effect and two hundred jobs will go at the Belfast factory.
KPMG said it had no alternative but to close the factory and the two others in Basildon and Enfield in England. Administrators have been called in to the factory which is the former Ford plant. Visteon has a total workforce of 600 in the United Kingdom.
Unite convenor John Maguire said the workers at the plant had “been treated disgracefully”.
“We have been left with no choice but to occupy the factory to save our jobs and to defend jobs for the people of Belfast,” he said.
Fifty people who were sacked on Tuesday are now on the roof of the Enfield plant. Others are holding a sit-in at the plant in Basildon in Essex.
The protesters claimed the company’s former owner and main customer, Ford, had promised redundancy contracts which they now want to see honoured.
If anyone can help, essentials such as sleeping bags, kitchen
utilities and of course, money (cheques can be sent to PO Box 2474,
London, N8, addressed to the HSG, who will give the money over) are
needed. Also, our support. You can turn up whenever, and even sleep
the night. This is an important event, so anyone that can get down
there and show some solidarity, do so.
These are particular dates of note, all of which people are asked to
Mon 6 April
* Monday morning – possibility of people turning up to take away
equipment in factory. People will be needed to prevent this, but no
idea of time at the moment.
* Monday 9.30am at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. High
Court injunction hearing at 10.30am.
* Haringey & Enfield Trade Councils meeting 7.30pm at the North
London Community Centre, 22 Moorefield Rd, N17 6PY. Bruce Grove
Tues 7 April
* 10am Boss/Union meeting at Transport House, 128 Theobald’s Road, Holborn
Wed 8 April
* Wednesday: meeting in U.S. between Unite & Ford US
* Family Day at the factory – Wednesday noon.
The Visteon automobile factory (owned by Ford) in has been occupied this morning by workers who were sacked yesterday.
Yesterday workers at the 3 factories owned by Ford Cars subsidiary Visteon in Basildon, Enfield and Belfast were called into the offices by management at 2pm and laid-off with immediate effect. They were not even given time to collect their belongings or provided with any redundancy pay (other than an initial week’s wages that had been held back from them in the first place.
Visteon is a tax dodge that was set up by Ford in 2000. It has been variously used as a way by Ford for not providing normal legal provisions for workers. Recently, it was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after shares dropped from 7c to 2c.
Of the 200 workers who were employed at the Enfield factory, currently about 100 are occupying the building in defiance of the half-dozen security guards who were meant to be “protecting” the site. The factory is otherwise completely deserted and many of the protestors are now on the roof to announce to the world what is going on. They have supplies and do not intend to give the factory back until their demands are met by the administrators (KPMG). The police have been called but are not yet showing any interest. The workers demands are:
- Full back pay
- Full legal notice in compliance with UK law
The same conditions of redundancy that Ford workers receive