The IndustriALL Global Union Automotive Working Group meeting in Pretoria, South Africa 1-3 November, made up of 70 delegates from 15 countries, exchanged information on technological changes in the automotive sector, discussed how to organize along value chains and to effectively fight precarious work.
The meeting, jointly hosted with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, took place just a week after IndustriALL’s Industry 4.0 conference in Geneva, Switzerland, discussed how unions should be prepared to respond to the changes expected to take place when the internal combustion engine is replaced by a new generation of electric motors. Participants embarked on a ‘world trip’ in order to discover the current and expected developments regarding the introduction of hybrid, electric, and self-driving vehicles by listening to related reports from around the globe.
Participants pointed out that many traditional Original Equipment Manufacturers were focusing on Industry 3.0 by increasing automation. Genuine Industry 4.0 concepts were instead introduced by newcomers to the sector where employees were rarely organized. The working group agreed to follow-up on this discussion at the level of the global trade union company networks.
Special emphasis was also given to strategies aiming at organizing along value chains. An expert group was formed to elaborate a concrete pilot project for the sector in the next 12 months.
Finally, the group looked at countries and regions – US South, Turkey, Mexico, India, Middle East and North Africa, Thailand and China – where workers’ and trade union rights were often under threat from governments and companies. Delegates decided to pay special attention to these countries and to prepare and support activities in solidarity with the workers who were fighting for their rights.
Georg Leutert, IndustriALL director for the automotive and aerospace industries, said:
“Trade unionists present at the meeting held an open and frank debate about precarious work in the sector, and agreed to look at examples of how best to effectively fight it”.