8 February, 2019Brazilian metalworkers came up with a plan of action at their meeting in São Paulo on 1 February. They agreed to take global action against the threats made by General Motors and to participate in campaigns in support of retirement and the victims of the Brumadinho dam disaster.
Leaders from all of the unions within the Brazilian Metalworkers' Movement (O movimento Brasil Metalúrgico), uniting all the federations, unions and confederations of metalworkers of Brazil including IndustriALL affiliates CNM/CUT and CNTM/Força Sindical, agreed on a plan of action to protect the rights of metalworkers at carmakers and throughout the supply chain and to support the working class as a whole. The Movement was formed in 2017 with the aim to defend workers’ rights and fight against precarious work among others.
One of the key decisions was to organize a global day of union action against the threats made by General Motors (GM), with unions in Canada and the United States invited to take part.
Even though sales are on the rise, GM leaders issued a memo threatening to shut down operations in South America unless they could find ways to return to profit.
Workers at the GM plant in Gravataí recently led a demonstration condemning the cost-cutting measures put forward by the company, which include a reduction in the wage floor and a 44-hour work week.
At the meeting, union leaders discussed these threats to undermine workers’ rights. They also talked about the impact of the blackmail that GM had conducted in the United States and Canada when it announced the closure of five plants across the two countries.
Members of the Brazilian Metalworkers' Movement also decided to publish a newsletter to inform people of their struggle against the threats made by GM and other manufacturers.
In addition, they agreed to support other campaigns, such as the demonstration of solidarity with the families of the victims of the Brumadinho tragedy on 7 February, and the national day in support of retirement scheduled for 20 February.
The discussions were chaired by Mónica Veloso, vice president of CNTM and co-chair of the IndustriALL Global Union women’s committee. She said that it was essential to reclaim respect for the working class in order to face these intensely aggravating times.
Finally, members of the Movement agreed to set up a group that would come up with a proposal for a national collective employment agreement to help protect workers and their rights.
IndustriALL's general secretary, Valter Sanches, joined the meeting via video call and said:
"GM is blackmailing unions. We are going to coordinate a global struggle with unions in Canada and the United States in order to show solidarity at this time. We'll make sure that unions worldwide take action against this blackmail."