[DEBATE] : Fw: Solidarity request: strike at Ford Russia
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Thu Nov 22 07:16:53 GMT 2007
----- Original Message -----
From: Hanka Heumakers
To: 'TIE Netherlands'
Sent: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 9:20 PM
Subject: Solidarity request: strike at Ford Russia
Russia: Workers of the Ford Company enter in strike and the company calls in shock troops
The Workers in the Ford Company of Vsevolojisk (St Petersburg) laid down work since 00:00 h, 20 of November of 2007
The Ford company called the OMON - the Russian shock troops to "protect its patrimony". This was immediately taken care of by the national authorities. The OMON (the Elite Squad) surrounded all the company premises and it does not allow the workers to enter the plant. The direction of the company does not want to negotiate with the strikers who demand a wage increase of 35% and improvement in working conditions.
According to Aleksei Etmanov, president of the Trade Union, the Committee of the Workers in the Ford company, 1500 Workers are in strike. In total, the company employs 1800 persons in Vsevolojisk.
The Ford company does not allow workers to enter the plant claiming the necessity to protect its patrimony. In this way they attempt to criminalize the actions organized by the independent labour union. This is not the first time that the workers in the Russian Ford company lay down their work. In the previous times they entered the plant and peacefully switched off their machines.
With this authoritarian and improper measure taken by the company this time, it shows its face, very different of its language, a language used in its programs of "professional motivation"
or in its internal bulletins.
The length of the strike of the workers at Ford is indefinite and all solidarity that could be given will be welcomed. The workers have come to the decision to paralyze the activities after 4 months of negotiations with the direction of the Ford, without any progress.
Letters of solidarity can be sent by email to Aleksei Etmanov <mailto:etman at yandex.ru>etman at yandex.ru
Without doubt, this fight of the workers in the Russian Ford company is a landmark in the fights of Ford workers in the whole world. It indicates that the company decided to return to its old methods of repression of the trade union movement, leaving aside all the advances that marked a period of civilized negotiations.
Supporting the Russian Workers at this moment means also supporting our future fights against this transnational company that wants to return to its anti-union practices.
Ford Russia hinders the entrance of workers in strike
The direction of the Ford Russia does not allow workers in strike to enter the plant, not even to go to the bathroom!
But the independent union does not give up. The Committee of the Workers in the Ford company obtained biological bathrooms and it put them at the entrance of the plant, where about 600 people are permanently picketing.
In the morning of 21 November it was necessary to organize a picketline to prevent the entrance of scabs.
To sustain the cold that varies between -5 C to -10 C, the strikers play soccer, take hot tea, besides keeping a group of security organized and formed by the strikers.
Policemen protect the company, but until this moment there was no confrontation registered between them and the workers.
Workers of Moscow already showed their support to the strikers of the Petersburg area. Workers in the AvtoFraMos (Russian plant of Renault) made a picketline during the shift change in the Moscow plant in which workers of the Moscow Metro had also participated. The Moscow workers believe that the wages in the Ford do not follow the inflation and support the firmness of their colleagues in the Ford plant to fight until the final victory.
Apart of police pressure, the Ford company makes use of psychological pressure. The direction of the company bets on exhaustion of the movement by fatigue.
They count on this with the help of the extreme cold and therefore they do not enter in contact with the union to resume the negotiations.
Moreover, the Russian Ford company has imported an enormous amount of vehicles produced in Spain and Germany, so that delivering to consumers can continue.
Solidarity to the workers of Ford in Russia is necessary, not only through words and letters of support, but also practically, through the international coordination of the struggles of workers in order to reduce the room to manoeuvre for companies.
Union of Metalworkers of Taubaté condemn attitude of Ford in Russia
The Union of the Metal Workers of Taubaté
(Brazil) condemn the attitude of the management of the Ford in the city of Vsevolojisk (close to Peterburg) in Russia.
The management called the Shock troops of the local policy to occupy the plant with the excuse "to protect its patrimony" to prepare for the mobilization of the workers. The workers are in a process of negotiation in which they demand a wage increase of 35% and improvement in the working conditions.
The Union of Metal Workers of Taubaté (Brazil) established with Ford an agreement in which the organization and representation of the workers was always recognized and respected.
Therefore, we perceive the position of the direction of the company in Russia brutal and unnecessary. Their clear objective is to de-mobilize the independent union organization of workers which recently has been growing in that country.
We condemn such attitude of Ford towards our Russian friends and demand that the company prevents that such disrespect to the workers and its representatives in the plant of Vsevolojisk continues.
Taubaté, 21 of November of 2007
Ford workers in Russia strike for better wages The union has been negotiating for four months without management seriously considering proposals.
RUSSIA: The Interregional Trade Union of Automobile Workers (ITUAW), which represents workers at the Ford car assembly plant in Vsevolozhsk, has been in wage negotiations with the company for four months. But Ford management has thus far refused to seriously consider the union's reasonable proposals or to engage in proper reconciliation procedures, according to the union.
On November 7, the workers went out on a one-day warning strike at the plant located outside St.
Petersburg where the company builds the popular Ford Focus model.
As management continued to ignore workers'
demands, the workers decided to down their tools and begin an industrial action at midnight November 19. The strike comes during a period of booming car sales for Ford in Russia. Workers are demanding an increase in the basic monthly wage to 28,000 roubles ($1,143), up from 19,000 roubles, and a new collective labour agreement.
Russian consumer prices are already running at least 1.3 percentage points higher than the government's 8.0 percent yearly inflation target.
As a result, factory managers across the country are facing demands for higher wages, according to news reports.
"We have been waiting for four months, since the end of July, but it's all gone nowhere. The management of the plant has not cooperated with the reconciliation committee," said Alexei Etmanov, chairman of the Ford trade union branch of the ITUAW/VKT.
"Now they're trying to win some time. On Dec. 15, the Christmas holidays will start. Then we will see no negotiations until mid-January." Etmanov said, indicating that such delays by management have occurred before.
The IMF and its affiliates have sent expressions of solidarity with the workers and union at the Ford Vsevolozhsk plant in their fight for better wages.
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