Third ICOG online meeting passed important forward-looking resolutions

20 February 2020: Dear colleagues, The 3rd Online Video Meeting of the International Coordination Group (ICOG) took place successfully in January. Important resolutions for further work were discussed and adopted. Key issues in the discussion were the impact of the Corona pandemic, the development of international coordination work and the need to improve cooperation with the elected international corporate coordinators of International Automotive Workers' Coordination.

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Corona pandemic continues to impact automotive workers and their families. Access to vaccinations and testing has improved. Still, advocating for universal vaccination coverage should not result in disadvantages, such as layoffs, for workers who cannot afford or have access to vaccination and testing. ICOG positioned itself against petty bourgeois egoism and individual freedom thinking in vaccination. There was agreement with the demand from Brazil for the abolition of patent rights. From Germany, the reactionary “Querdenker” (Corona deniers and vaccination opponents) movement was reported on and it was shown that fascist forces promote and use it. From Tunisia and Brazil it is reported that there are also Corona deniers and vaccination opponents, which as in Brazil over the government Bolsonaro and its supporters led to a larger polarization. However, a vaccination rate of over 90% in gigacities like São Paolo shows at the same time that the masses very much want corona protection. In all countries, demands are growing against passing on the burden of the crisis to the workers and the masses and for higher wages. It has been reported that prices are rising and that many are already suffering great losses due to Corona outages.

ICOG reiterated the call for the international auto workers' movement to actively participate in the world climate demonstrations. We continue to lead the discussion in the environmental movement. It was exactly right for ICOG to spread its call for International Environmental Struggle Day in November. It is of particular importance to set not the struggle for environmental and climate protection against the struggle for jobs, and take full responsibility for both. However, this can only be done if we take an even deeper look at the requirements for a mobility of the future and at necessary social changes. In line with our International Program of Struggle, we need to develop an even higher profile in this regard.

The ICOG expressed concern about the growing threat of war. The automotive workers are not in national competition, but stand together in solidarity worldwide. Accordingly, a resolution was passed against the continuing persecution and repression of trade unionists in Belarus.

Self-critically, the ICOG discussed that it did not follow up on the fight against the dismissal of 14 store stewards at VW South Africa who had been fighting for Corona protections. A total of 20 store stewards are affected, although 6 who have admitted guilt have so far been allowed to continue working. The dispute is now still in court. The ICOG adopted a solidarity statement in which it stressed the importance of the struggle for a full legal right to strike in all matters. In line with the call for May Day, which until now has always included April 28, as Workers' Health and Safety Day, solidarity with this struggle should become a priority.

To develop the coordination of struggles by the ICOG, the example of Ford and GM was discussed, how plant closures are taking place in Brazil and India, but especially creeping layoffs. The main orientation towards the courts and for financial help from the state are directed against the struggle for every job and lead to a dead end. From Germany, there were concrete reports about the successful fight against the planned cold closure of Opel Eisenach. The decisive trump card was the international solidarity via the French delegations of PSA to the nationwide day of action of trade union IG Metall. Self-critically it was raised that the ICOG has to put the international coordination of the struggles even more in the center of its work. The cooperation of the ICOG with the elected international group coordinators of the IAC must become closer. From South Africa, it was stressed to develop more international corporate cooperation through the International Automotive Workers Coordination. For example, the separation of the car and truck divisions at Daimler has led to a split in the workforce and weakened the common fighting power as one workforce.

Hopeful initiatives to unite unions from car and supplier factories were reported from India. The outsourcing of parts of factories has increased enormously in the last year. This has led to layoffs, wage cuts and deteriorating working conditions worldwide. In Brazil, there was a successful struggle to save jobs at one of LG's suppliers.

As important results of the ICOG meeting, the preparation, mobilization and participation with a delegation at the 3rd World Women's Conference in Tunisia from September 3-10, 2022 were decided, as well as the support of the 3rd International Miners' Conference in September 2023.

The ICOG's call for International Women's Day was unanimously adopted, in which the struggle of Afghan women for their liberation is especially acknowledged.

The ICOG adopted a resolution of protest and solidarity against the obstructions in the union elections at GM Silao Mexico. Shortly after our meeting, we learned of the great electoral success of the independent union SINTTIA and congratulated them.

The deadline for applications to host the 3rd International Automotive Workers Conference in 2025 was scheduled for the end of February 2022. No applications had been received yet. Three criteria for selecting and winning a country for the 3rd International Automotive Workers Conference were unified: a) a change of continent b) a country with automotive and supplier industry c) a militant automotive workers' movement and forces as local supporters. The application deadline has been extended to July 15, 2022. ICOG is eagerly waiting for your proposals and applications.

With solidarity greetings


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