• 13,000 Brazilian Workers Vote to Strike at Volkswagen

    From our special correspondent in Brazil, Steve Payne
    13,000 workers at Volkswagen’s Brazil factories voted to strike as Volkswagen proceeds with a plan to lay off 2,100 workers. 800 workers have already received lay-off notifications, and 1,300 are expected to receive notices. The union representing workers says the layoffs violate their contract with Volkswagen. Nearly 7,000 workers held an open-air meeting outside their factory to approve the potential strike. After the meeting, the workers returned inside the factory, but did not continue production.
    Source: Edmilson Magalhães
    At a second afternoon shift meeting, 4000 second shift workers confirmed the morning vote, and 2000 overnight workers also voted to strike at a third meeting.
    Source: Sindicato dos Metalurgicos ABC
    The strike votes effectively shut down production at the VW plant on Tuesday, January 6th. Wagner Santana, Secretary-General of the Union said that "on Tuesday VW produced nothing and the next days will be no different” if VW continues with the layoffs.
    The Sindicato dos Metalurgicos de ABC represents workers in the automobile industry. Its most famous member is Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, who was elected President of Brazil in 2002. He ran with the Workers Party (the PT in Portuguese). The PT was formed in 1980 by left-wing trade unionists and was part of a movement against the dictatorship that then controlled the country.
    The metalworker’s union also played a key role in creating CUT, a left-wing labor confederation. The metalworker’s galvanized the Brazilian working class by leading a series of audacious strikes against the military dictatorship. After the metalworker’s initial strikes in the late 1970’s, nearly three million workers took the streets, demanding both improved working conditions and end to the dictatorship.
    The union today plays an important role in movements opposing foreign capital’s control of the Brazilian economy. Santana also said “We need to rebalance the relationship between capital and labor and this will only be done in a collective and with solidarity.”
    Source: Adonis War
    For more information in Portuguese, visit the metalworker’s website,  http://www.smabc.org.br/smabc/, or follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/smabc.


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