IndustriALL’s Goodyear global union network re-affirmed its commitment towards global union solidarity in a meeting held on 2-3 November in Birmingham, UK, with the participation of union leaders representing Goodyear employees worldwide.
The Birmingham meeting was held in the shadow of Goodyear's decision to close the Wolverhampton site in the UK, a devastating blow to the over 300 strong workforce and to the local community. IndustriALL Global Union affiliate Unite the Union, representing workers at the site, believes that all avenues should be exhausted before there is am irreversible decision to close the plant. Goodyear has been associated with Wolverhampton for almost 90 years, and it is the first Goodyear site outside of North America.
Gerard Coyne, West Midlands regional secretary of Unite, addressed the meeting and gave details about the closure.
Unite the Union has been in formal consultation with Goodyear Dunlop UK on the proposed closure of its Wolverhampton facility. An independent study was commissioned to examine and assess the decision to end production in Wolverhampton. However, the company has been unable to answer questions relating to possible alternative volume allocation or on the discrepancies between the cost of restructuring and the cost of the project as disclosed to the market.
The global union network made a strong statement in support of Unite and its members in Wolverhampton. In his letter to the CEO of Goodyear, Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL’s general secretary said:
“We truly believe that the site is viable; in consequence, we call on Goodyear to carefully examine all avenues to ensure a continuation of production at the Wolverhampton site.”
At the time of the meeting, the network meeting received a report that Goodyear workers in Colombia went on strike permanently as the collective bargaining negotiations failed over differences between workers’ demands and company’s offer.
In its statement of solidarity, the network concluded: “Standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Colombian striking Goodyear workers, the Global Union Network calls on Goodyear to sit down with SINTRAINCAPLA for good faith negotiations with a view to find a proprer solution to address the demands of the union members.”
The Goodyear union network meeting analyzed global trends in the tire Industry, Goodyear’s current state of affairs with the economic situation, investments, and employment. Participants shared their trade union situation in Goodyear operations worldwide. At the end of the meeting, the network identified its way forward over the structure and actions to be taken.
“The Goodyear global union network has again shown its determination at the Birmingham meeting” said Kemal Özkan, assistant general secretary of IndustriALL. “Our support and solidarity with our British sisters and brothers in Wolverhampton will continue”.
Founded at a conference in 1999 in Cleveland, USA, with 100 trade union representatives from 16 Countries, the Goodyear global union network prioritizes the exchange of information and experience, as well as solidarity and support actions through international solidarity.