THE CGT VERSUS FORD:
The following article is translated from an article appearing today (Monday May 12) in the online version of the Spanish anarchist magazine Rojo Y Negro. The Spanish original is available at said site. Royo Y Negro is an official publication of the Confederciòn General del Trabajo(General Confederation of Labour), the CGT. The CGT is the largest functioning anarcho-syndicalist union in the world, having about 100,000 claimed members and representing many times more than that in union elections, perhaps over 2 million workers. It is the third largest union in modern day Spain. The CGT has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that the ideas of anarchosyndicalism are indeed still relevant in the modern world and that it is possible to build an union that is both popular and anarchist.
The following deals with a labour dispute at the Ford plant in Almussafes, a suburb of the city of Valencia in Spain. It seems that, unlike here in North America where the unions representing autoworkers are much more famous for striking deals with management rather than fighting for their members, at least some auto workers in Spain are represented by unions that understand what the term "union" means.
In the week of May 19 to 23 the CGT will launch a strike at Ford Almussafes against the cutting of rights .
The CGT trade union section at Ford Almussafes, which was present at the two meetings held last Friday at the factory , today felt that "the management has not expressed any interest in solving the serious problem that the announcement of cuts to workers' rights has led to in the plant", so it has called a work stoppage for the week of 19 to 23 May, failing to identify a particular day, informed sources said in an union statement .
Monday May 12, 2008
The CGT will protest in this way against the proposal from the company to increase production by changing the shift regime and avoiding a Labour Regulation File (ERE)(Molly Note- I have trouble translating the Spanish "legalese" 'Expediente de Regulacion de Empleo' into English legalese. I assume it means something like being cited for unfair labour practices) when the plant ceases to produce the Fiesta and Ka models in September, to focus solely on Focus. This despite the changes made yesterday by the company to its initial plan, which was supported by the UGT, the majority union.
The first meeting took place yesterday as a result of the request for negotiations voiced by the three unions contrary to the 'cuts' (CCOO, CGT and PUT). In its view, involving the company plan , who argued that his proposal is the 'only path' for achieving the goals of producing 1,400 cars per day from September to December, was regretted/rejected by the CGT.
So, before the presentation of an 'alternative proposal' produced by these unions with the idea of achieving those same goals, 'without violating any labour law', executives of Ford argued that, "but you should know some things, it is not possible to reach optimal production without reducing the meal time to 15 minutes and without introducing new shifts of six consecutive days".
The second of those meetings was to address the Advisory Committee (the president and secretary of the committee, plus the general secretaries of the four unions present at the factory), where the company "slightly"changed the content of its earlier proposal.
They announced that they would not require workers to work six days for the completion of the four working days that are calculated in the total count (as a result of the new calendar) and that they would also put a special transport during the holidays that people will work starting from September.
However, for the secretary general of CGT in Ford, Francisca Cuesta, the changes announced by the company "does not substantially alter the content of the cuts" as it keeps changing the agreement and timetable now in place and rights that are so important for workers are severely reduced , such as catering and two days rest on weekends.
It regretted that such measures respond to the unilateral application of the policy of cost reduction that Ford executives are still so obsessed for years. These cuts, he said, seriously infringe on workers' health and violate their right to have enough time for family life'.
'The most pathetic part of this initiative by Ford is that the removal of the dining room does not solve any of the issues in question, because it is still necessary need is to work two more days a week'. To do this, 'there are formulas that do not involve compulsion, such as financial compensation or to make do with more volunteers to work on weekends, recruited for two days'.
Given the lack of responsiveness of the company to the new proposals being made , the CCOO , CGT and PUT unions ,without revealing concrete details, called for a first strike, within the week of 19 to 23 May.