GM factory workers go on strike over job cuts in Brazil

Written by PSTU – Brazil
Tuesday, 11 August 2015 23:27
At a meeting early this Monday, August 10, workers at the General Motors plant in São José dos Campos decided to go on strike indefinitely.
The reason for the strike are the dismissals (around 250) which the company announced on Saturday, Father’s Day eve in Brazil.
The workers have gone on strike because they do not accept the dismissals, especially when coming from a company that has received, in recent years, billions of dollars of public funds in the form of tax exemptions granted by the Federal Government.
Workers demand, from the company, the immediate reinstatement of the dismissed, and a serious attitude to defend jobs on the part of the PT government. The firings we’re seeing across the country are the result of the economic policy implemented by the government of President Dilma which, instead of protecting jobs, as it boasts, only protects the profits of big business.
Sacked by telegram  
The metalworkers of General Motors of São José dos Campos were surprised at their homes on Saturday the 8th, with a dismissal notice made by telegram. As soon as it was informed by the workers about the dismissals, the Metalworkers Union of São José dos Campos, affiliated to the CSP-Conlutas, sought the automaker, which confirmed the layoffs.
The union vehemently repudiates these firings, which happened on Father’s Day eve, leaving the workers even more bewildered.
Meeting with the sacked at the union headquarters  
In the middle of Father’s Day on Sunday, about 250 people packed the union hall for the meeting which brought together part of the dismissed workers. The mood was one of indignation and revolt.
The metalworkers approved the start of a strong mobilization requiring the reversal of the layoffs, stability of employment and the opening of negotiations between the union and GM. They all decided to participate in the meeting scheduled for the morning after at the factory gate, starting 5:30 am. The workers were told by the union not to attend the demissional medical examination organized by GM and to disregard the dismissal telegram.
Mass layoffs  
The cuts in São José dos Campos occur a month after the automaker has fired about 500 workers at its plant in São Caetano do Sul. This week, the automaker Mercedes-Benz announced plans to sack about 2,000 workers in its São Bernardo plant.
In the face of GM’s stance and that of the other automakers, extensively benefited from tax incentives, the union will fight for the reversal of job cuts and demand from the federal government that it guarantees job stability.
The metalworkers also demand the reduction of working hours to 36 hours a week without loss of pay, the ban on transfer of profits abroad and the nationalization of the companies that dismiss workers.
We must surround the strike of the GM workers with solidarity. Trade unions and popular movements throughout the country must speak in support of the comrades, requiring of the company and of the authorities concrete measures to reverse this situation and to secure employment.
Translation: Gabriel Tolstoy

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