Call of the International Coordination Group of the International Automotive Workers' Coordination for 28 April, the International Day for Health and Labor Safety, and for 1 May 2020

Dear colleagues, Since the beginning of March, the situation worldwide has changed dramatically due to the spreading of the corona virus and Covid-19. The number of infected people and fatalities is increasing, and no end is in sight. The healthcare system, which is geared to maximum capitalist profits, lacks hospital capacities, tests and protective equipment. Particularly affected are the huge cities with millions of inhabitants, with their large poor areas, where the risk of infection is high and health care is minimal. Many are unable to feed their families.

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The health crisis has accelerated the global economic crisis that began in mid-2018. As a result of this and the structural crises, with the transition to electromobility and digitalization, millions of jobs in the auto and supplier industry are acutely endangered.

We call up to fight for every job and demand the 30-hour week with full wage compensation.

Shutting down car production is opportune for some companies in order to reduce their overproduction, especially as they receive state-subsidized compensation payments in the billions.

In countries such as South Africa, the Philippines or India, the shutdown and the imposed curfew are affecting millions of people in their very existence. "No work - no pay!“ increases poverty and misery. The livelihood of auto workers and their families is massively threatened. Instead of massive wage losses, we demand from the employers worldwide 100% payment for the working days lost due to the corona health crisis.

For reasons of profit and in the fierce international competition, the economy and automobile production is supposed to be restarted soon. We are preparing to wage a decisive struggle against shifting the burdens of the crisis onto the automotive workers and their families. "We are not paying for your crisis" must become the international guideline for automotive workers. Likewise, we do not accept that taking up of production is dangerous and takes place without health protection for the workers. Health before maximum profits, that is our standard worldwide. While contact bans have been imposed in public, workers in factories are supposed to continue to work shoulder to shoulder.

As early as March, the workers at FCA in Italy, Daimler in Vittoria/Spain or Stuttgart/Germany went on strike, justifiably calling for production to be shut down to protect themselves from infection. Workers around the world are fighting for health protection and the closure of plants that do not have essential production. In Brazil, the metalworkers' union enforced the closure of 30 factories with the threat of a general strike and with demands for continued payment of wages and job security. In Morocco, India and many other countries there are protests against strict curfews and poverty, against government policies and against violent repression. In Italy, 150 people from 12 organizations discussed the effects of the corona virus pandemic in a video conference and agreed on 13 common demands. General Electric workers in the USA demand the conversion of production to the manufacture of medical ventilators.

Protective measures to contain the corona virus are necessary. However, we are resolutely opposed to emergency measures of political repression, including the imposition of martial law, which are intended to prevent workers' struggles and acts of resistance. This also directly affects May Day, the international day of struggle of the working class. Despite all the restrictions, this year it is necessary to organize a suitable culture of demonstration and forms of action creatively, to carry out actions in the factories and to join together the militant workers' and trade union movement worldwide.

With the dissemination of our adopted International Program of Struggle, which we adopted in February at the 2nd International Automotive Workers' Conference in South Africa, we are going on the offensive and strengthening international workers' and trade union unity. The international program of struggle deals with health precautions for the workers in face of the increased exploitation in the factories, but also with the consequences of the criminal fraud with exhaust fumes and the transition to the climate catastrophe for the health of the entire population. With the crisis development of this year, in view of the expected disputes and struggles, it is gaining in importance and provides orientation. The failure of the capitalist system in this situation confirms the call in the program of struggle for a strategy debate for a societal and socialist alternative, against anti-communist, antirevolutionary and anti-anti capitalist-cheap propaganda.

"We do not restrict ourselves to the struggle for better wage and working conditions. We want a fulfilled, dignified and healthy life for all people in harmony with nature - a society without exploitation and oppression, because another world is possible". (Founding Resolution of the International Automotive Workers' Coordination, October 2015)

Despite massive restrictions of public life due to the corona pandemic and against all nationalist or social-chauvinist division, we call upon all auto workers and their families worldwide to call for May Day, the international day of struggle of the working class:

For the comprehensive protection of health and occupational safety in the corona health crisis!

Against the use of the corona health crisis to further dismantle and suppress political and democratic rights and freedoms, and against political emergency measures!

No shifting of the burdens of the crisis onto the auto workers, their families and the masses!

Automotive workers of the world, let us cross borders and strengthen the international unity of the workers!


Solidary regards


Ed Cubelo (Philippines), Dieter Schweizer (Germany)

Coordinators of ICOG

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