Information Letter No. 8 - June 1, 2019

Move ahead and support the preparation and mobilization to the Second International Automotive Workers Conference!

(Information Letter No.8 download)

 

There are still nine months to go before the 2nd International Automotive Workers Conference will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 19 to 23 February 2020. It will be self-organized and prepared non-party affiliated. Interest in participation is growing worldwide. Among others, colleagues from Tunisia and Morocco, where there is a growing automotive industry, have already confirmed their participation. In South Africa, the big militant metal trade union NUMSA has expressed its support for the preparation and conducting of the conference. Its representatives explicitly stated that NUMSA stands for the common international struggle of the workers.

 

In February, the workforce of Audi in Györ, Hungary, went on strike for a week and pushed through their demands in full, including an 18% wage increase. Congratulations! The strike at Europe's largest engine plant stopped production at Audi's main plant in Ingolstadt for a week. The 10,000 colleagues affected there by the loss of production stood in solidarity on the side of the strikers. This solidarity across location sites, corporations or countries, right up to the joint struggle, is the right way to international workers unity.

 

The rapid changes in the automotive industry with the transition to electromobility, further digitalization and the signs of a worldwide economic and financial crisis are linked to the destruction of tens of thousands of jobs, the attack on wages and the deterioration of working conditions. The workers are challenged to unite in opposition, to fight together and coordinated for their jobs and class interests. Pointing the way forward, the International Coordination Group (ICOG) issued badges, stickers in various languages and a small leaflet in English and Spanish in time for May Day with demands for the 30-hour week with full wage compensation.

 

A social-chauvinist mode of thinking stands in opposition to the union and common struggle across company and country borders. It is spread by politicians and even trade union leaders, divides workers according to location, company or country and pits them against each other, for example as competitors for jobs.

 

In Brazil this year on May Day, the 10 trade union federations demonstrated together, and on 14 June a general strike against the retirement reform of the right-wing Bolsonaro government is being prepared. The automotive workers are called upon to fight against the rightward development of the governments, which operate in the service and interest of the profits of the corporate bosses. In many countries, this includes resolutely fighting against political oppression and for more democratic and trade union rights. The worldwide fraud regarding engine emissions and the signs of a climate catastrophe show the necessity to take over responsibility for the protection of the natural environment and the preservation of human health. Closely related to this is the important debate and the struggle for societal alternatives.

 

The draft for an international program of struggle of the automotive workers, which the International Coordination Group of the International Automotive Workers' Coordination (ICOG) will publish on 1 June 2019, is just the right thing to do. The joint program of struggle will be broadly distributed and discussed in many countries and is to be adopted by the delegates at the 2nd International Automotive Workers Conference. Delegations can submit their proposals for amendments and improvements until 1 December 2019.

 

The ICOG's call for the international invitation process states the following about the character of the delegations: „The preparatory processes in each country culminate in the realization of the delegate principle of the IAC. Up to 5 delegates from each country with a total of 5 votes can take part in the decision-making Delegates' Assembly: For that, national conferences of workers from different factories, cities, trade unions, etc. should be convened, if possible, in order to elect the delegation. The registration deadline for delegations is on 1/1/2020. (contact@iawc.info)." We call for this process to be quickly organized in the countries and to report to ICOG about your preparation, discussion and results, so that it can be made available for many others.

 

In South Africa a National Preparatory Group is already working actively with the support of NUMSA on the concrete organizational preparations. They are planning to inform all workforces of the auto and supplier industry in South Africa about the International Automotive Workers' Conference and to mobilize them for support and participation. From mid-January 2020 we expect international brigades to help and support the preparation and mobilization. In particular, we want to win young people and experienced supporters for their voluntary commitment. Further information and application via ICOG (mailto contact@iawc.info)

 

For the further preparations it is important that the registration of thematic forums, workshops and cultural contributions takes place by August 1, 2019. This concerns proposals and clear commitments to assume responsibility for their preparation and implementation. This will allow us to plan and prepare the conference much more concretely.

 

The conference will include country reports with presentations by delegations. Please send these to the ICOG by December 1, 2019, and allow time for the translation work.

 

On December 7, 2018, the ICOG decided on a donation campaign for the 2nd International Automotive Workers Conference with a target of 50,000 euros. Become active and develop initiatives. Report about your donation activities and how they are developing. The delegations should normally finance their participation themselves. Applications to support travel expenses can be submitted to the ICOG.

 

We will inform you regularly about the course of further preparation and mobilization. We wish you inspiration and strength in the preparation and mobilization for the 2nd International Automotive Workers Conference. We would be happy to welcome you in 9 months in Johannesburg.

 

With solidarity greetings

 

Carlos Luiz Prates Mancha (Brazil), Diego Rejon Bayo (Spain), Dieter Schweizer (Germany)

Coordinators of ICOG