International Newsletter General Motors / Stellantis No. 21 - September 2021

Dear colleagues! Our last information letter in March got a very good international response, with feedback from Germany, Italy, Australia, Morocco, France, Poland and Mexico. Two Italian websites published it, and it was more widely distributed in Brazil and Mexico. In Australia, it was reprinted along with a foreword in which laid-off auto workers tell how they took their wealth of experience in the labor struggle into their new jobs.

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Wow! This positive development, combined with the days of action that have taken place in recent months (see below), shows that there is a great need for coordination of struggles across factory walls and national borders! It was an important signal to make the call of the Italian colleagues for the action day on April 01 known with the last info letter. The works council list Offensiv made a gate action in Bochum / Germany on that day. All these are small but significant steps of practical coordination and cooperation of the international workers' struggles. Our connection with each other became closer.

We congratulate the injured colleagues in Bogota / Colombia, who achieved the reinstatement of 20 dismissed colleagues by General Motors before the Constitutional Court of Colombia. This is above all the success of the historic struggle of their organization ASOTRECOL, who have now maintained their vigil in the tent in front of the US Embassy for over ten years!

We equally congratulate the colleagues at GM's Silao plant in Mexico who, out of 6,500 workers, voted 3214 to 2623 to reject a collective bargaining agreement that included low wages, poor job security and a lack of Covid-19 protections. Since the bad collective agreement was reached under the responsibility of the largest union CTM, the colleagues formed a new independent union called SINTTIA. We also congratulate Maria Alejandra Morales Reynoso on being the first woman to head a union in Mexico.

Following the merger of PSA and Fiat to form 'Stellantis', the focus of the labor dispute in recent months has been on the intensified exploitation offensive, and at General Motors above all on the destruction of jobs. Stellantis boss Tavarez is stepping up the attacks on the workforce. They originate in the intensified rivalry in the international competition in the automobile industry and the drive for maximum profit of the automobile monopolies. The most serious attacks have come in recent weeks on working hours, with the push for an 84-hour week in Sterling Heights / Detroit and with negotiations by Opel with IG-Metall in Germany to make working hours even more flexible. The announcement that the merger will lead to an annual "synergy effect" of five billion dollars leaves no doubt that further attacks on jobs, wages and working conditions are to be expected. In any case, the rulers will try to shift the burden of the crisis even more onto us workers, our families and the broad masses, even if in Germany the focus is currently still on crisis-mitigating measures such as short-time work. Worldwide, missing chips are leading to production stops. GM, for example, has to temporarily halt eight North American plants in September.

The world is shaken by the interaction of economic, political, ecological, ideological, health and social crises, up to overall social crises of various countries. The Corona pandemic is still developing uncontrollably in many countries of the world. Worldwide, according to official data, there have been over 220 million Corona infected people and over 4.5 million Corona deaths so far. India (33 million infected), Brazil (20 million infected), Iran (5 million infected), and Malaysia, Japan, Turkey, MexiKo, Indonesia, and Thailand have become hot spots, along with the United States. In India, 440,000 people have died from the Corona virus so far, and in Brazil the figure is over 580,000. In Michigan/USA, car production had to be curtailed because 10% of the workforce had to be quarantined.

Every day, up to 10,000 people die from Cocid-19, especially because poor countries receive far too little vaccine. With extraordinary speed, several viable vaccines have been developed. But the big monopolies of the pharmaceutical industry and the governments that serve them refuse to release the patents for reasons of profit.

At the same time, the danger of war is increasing and environmental disasters are mounting: heat and forest fires on the one hand, floods on the other. The years 2020 and 2021 became a revelation of imperialism's inability to solve even a single one of humanity's problems.


From the plants:

Solidarity with our colleagues in India is needed: General Motors fired all 1,086 unionized workers at its Talegaon plant near Pune on July 12 after they did not accept the "Voluntary Severance Program" offered. General Motors is in the process of selling the plant to Great Wall Motors, a Chinese monopoly, and has stopped production. The workers refused to accept the imposed offer. They are organized in the General Motors India Employees Union, which is affiliated with IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Shramik Ekta Mahasangh (SEM). Representatives of the union attended the automotive workers' conference in South Africa. GM had already laid off 1419 workers in April, against which the union filed a lawsuit. We urgently ask for solidarity statements to be forwarded via

Germany: Our colleagues at Opel in Eisenach are to continue to be squeezed out with shift extensions, early and late shifts on Saturdays. Completely flexibly, like PSA it straight fits. A six-day week has already been agreed. Such an agreement is also to be reached in Rüsselsheim. On May 26, IG-Metall held a day of action in Rüsselsheim against these plans by Stellantis. Delegations from Eisenach, Kaiserslautern and Bochum came and it became clear: We are one workforce and must stick together and fight throughout the group! In Bochum, Stellantis wants to play off the colleagues against the colleagues in the French and Italian central warehouses, to blackmail them into giving up Christmas and vacation bonuses and to extend working hours without wage compensation. We are not talking about an ailing company here. In order to make its shareholders even richer and declare war on VW and Toyota, they want to further intensify the competition. In Rüsselsheim, the management's psychological terror and bullying methods against colleagues have intensified. For some time now, management has been stating that if not enough people 'voluntarily' declare their willingness to leave the company, even compulsory redundancies will not be ruled out.

In France, the CGT union called on colleagues at Stellantis, Renault and supplier companies for a national strike day on June 22 against the increasing attacks on jobs, wages, working conditions and pensions. We very much welcomed the initiative and were able to mobilize a delegation from Germany that went to Sochaux for the action. There we presented the work of the IAC and the spirit of the company-wide struggle came alive. It was possible to establish a firm contact from Bochum to the goods distribution center in Vesoul/France, which PSA wants to put in competition with the goods distribution center in Bochum. The CGT supports the demand for a 32-hour week throughout France. The fact that our French colleagues are fighting for the 32-hour week and that we are raising the demand for the 30-hour week with full wage compensation is the right answer to the capitalist crisis chaos. The solidarity of the French and German colleagues was strengthened with this day of action!

With the days of action in Germany and France important signs were set against Stellantis' horror plans and the international solidarity was strengthened. We workers speak the same language because we have the same interests. The need for international days of struggle must continue to be discussed in the workforces and trade unions. Our strength lies in the common, transnational struggle and not in undercutting each other!

In Mexico, GM announced $1 billion in investment to build a new e-factory. Shortly after the announcement, criticism started coming from the U.S., led by the UAW (United Auto Workers) union leadership, as to why GM is investing in Mexico and not the U.S. Such playing off of workers from the U.S. against those from Mexico is harmful! It furthers the social-chauvinist agitation of fascists like Trump who foment nationalist division in the working class. We defend our jobs but never turn against other workforces or nationalities.

There are similar disputes at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port/England. The plant is to be converted for the production of a new electric van at a cost of 400 million pounds (466 million euros). The Astra is to be built there only until 2022 and then continue to be built in Rüsselsheim/Germany. The first Astra right-hand drive vehicles have already rolled off the production line in Rüsselsheim. Here, Stellantis blackmailed the state, the union and colleagues by demanding that the taxpayers take over investment costs, otherwise Stellantis would say goodbye to the British island. Now the British state is contributing 10 percent of the investment costs. The content of social chauvinism is the same: dividing and playing off the workers for the national interests of the monopolies. But these are not our interests and the influence of social chauvinism is a serious problem that we workers have to deal with.

For months, colleagues from Gliwice/Poland have been transferred to the engine plant in Tychy/Poland or assigned to work in France. Colleagues are threatened that if they don't want to work in France, they should take the severance pay.

Since Stellantis was created this year by the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France's PSA, production in Italy has come under scrutiny because it allegedly costs more than elsewhere in Europe. Stellantis is in talks with the Italian government about possibly building a new battery factory (Gigafactory) in Italy. They already have two battery factory projects in France and Germany and would like to decide on more gigafactories in Europe and the United States later this year. Italy is one of its main production sites in Europe.

Ultimately, the sweatshop offensive hits the future of youth. Their perspective of an apprenticeship, job and permanent employment is being robbed. Against this we must unite even more closely and fight together for our demands for the future of the youth. In point six of the IAC's program of struggle, we demand: "Because we think of the youth, we cannot let them buy our jobs, no matter how high the severance pay. We fight for every job! Second or third class wages undermine the future of our working youth and the new generation. The young workers are particularly affected by the lack of rights due to temporary work and fixed-term contracts. We demand the unlimited takeover of all trainees according to their education and the permanent determination of young workers*! For a free education system at the highest level!"

We also want to remind again that at the 2nd IAC a resolution was passed with the order: "(...) Therefore, the 2nd IAC returns the consultation on the membership in the anti-imperialist and anti-fascist united front to the base."

Meanwhile, the foundation of this united front of 500 organizations from 5 continents was announced on May 1. The ICOG wrote in its info letter of 1.6.21: "The IAC has now been asked again whether it wants to participate in the united front and its consultative committee. However, since at the 2nd IAC the necessary 80% majority for the collaboration did not come about, the ICOG cannot decide this retroactively. The movement of the International Automobile Workers* is a broad union with diverse forces, which is still to be expanded. However, many participants and participating organizations of the IAC have signed up for collaboration in the anti-imperialist united front and others are considering it. Therefore, we propose that these participants unite to form a platform in the IAC, e.g. as "Platform anti-imperialist united front in the IAC". This can become a participant of the anti-imperialist and anti-fascist united front and apply for participation in its consultative committee. Please write us back what you think about this and who would like to participate in the anti-imperialist united front and in this platform." (Please send feedback directly to ICOG).

A lot has happened in the last few months and we have been able to make good progress in uniting workers internationally and coordinating our struggles. Let's keep working together to expand international solidarity and our union. Send us regularly your experience reports from the factories, especially also to the discussions in the workforces and not only during struggles or attacks. Only in this way we can process this together and develop it higher.

With militant greetings,

Frank, Fritz and Verena

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