Workers from the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, US, with the support of IndustriALL Global Union and French metal affiliates of FTM-CGT, FGMM-CFDT, CFE-CGC Métallurgie and FO Métaux stage a joint protest in front of the building where the World Works Committee of Renault takes place.
On 28 June about 40 unionists gathered to protest the anti-union policies of the Nissan management at its biggest US factory in Canton, Mississippi. IndustriALL affiliate the United Auto Workers Union (UAW) organized an action for Canton labour and community activists seeking solidarity support in their organizing drive at Nissan.
Both car makers, part of the Alliance Renault-Nissan, are managed by the same CEO, Carlos Ghosn. Although not on the agenda, the union activists hoped to see the CEO walking in to the WWC meeting and were prepared to explain workers’ concerns.
One day before the union action in Paris, Mr Ghosn attended the meeting planned for 28 June with Renault WWC in the evening on 27 June. At the WWC meeting Renault workers’ representatives announced their solidarity by raising the issue of mistreatment of Nissan workers at the Canton plant, and expressed their support for the UAW demand for a meeting with HR management. However, the CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance refused to discuss the issue, briefly claiming the meeting did not regard Nissan and adding that the Japanese company always acts in strict conformity with national legislation.
At the picket in Paris, UAW members cited a number of examples of moral pressure on workers through videos broadcast inside the factory threatening to close it, if workers decide to vote for a union. On another instance when workers came in pro-union t-shirts the management prohibited this, although later claiming that uniform is not obligatory at their factory.
Among others, workers are concerned about long working hours, poor health and safety and unfair employment practices. Currently, the Nissan Mississippi factory employs only half of its 5,000 staff directly. The second half of workers is supplied by third party agencies. The third party workers are employed on worse conditions and are extremely vulnerable to manipulation by management.
UAW is running an organizing campaign at the plant and is seeking the company’s neutrality in the process. Unfortunately, the company management in violation of freedom of association uses extremely aggressive union-busting tactics and blocks all union organizing attempts.
Earlier company violations were registered by the U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NRLB) as coercive actions and statements and resulted in charges filed by NLRB against the Japanese automaker.
The UAW campaign for organizing Canton Mississippi autoworkers found large solidarity support with the international labour movement, including in Latin America and Europe.
The action in Paris was largely covered by the national mass media including radio and video news channels.
In solidarity with Nissan workers Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL general secretary said, “We will continue to support our affiliates’ legitimate rights to organize, whether it’s in the US or anywhere in the world. An injury to one is an injury to all, that’s our mission of global solidarity. And we will continue it as long as it takes, we will not go away, and finally we will win”.