16 December, 2019The IndustriALL Global Union Automotive Working Group proposed ten different approaches to deal with the profound change in the industry when it met in Düren, Germany, on 9-11 December.
The transformation of the automotive industry is complex and depends on several different factors. The introduction of electric vehicles (EV), autonomous vehicles (AV), the launch of new mobility concepts and the digitization of companies are at different stages around the world.
“It is time to act,” say 80 auto representatives from 20 IndustriALL affiliates from across the globe who met in Düren. The delegates agree; climate change, a global urban gridlock due to too many cars and new technologies will have a comprehensive impact on all parts of the automotive business.
Based on reports from the regions, countries and sub-sectors, it is clear that some regions are developing faster than others and that not all challenges have the same answers. However, regions where little to no changes have been introduced so far cannot rely on a business-as-usual scenario. On the contrary, they run the risk of being uncoupled from future developments and investments.
The trade union expert group that prepared the conference had elaborated ten different strategies, which can be turned into concrete action plans and assist workers from around the world to pro-actively deal with the transformation. The diverse approaches consider different cultures and traditions and reflect the unequal implementation of the changes in different world areas.
The meeting adopted a resolution demanding a socially responsible process of transition that is managed in close dialogue between employers, governments and trade unions.
“You can read about the transformation of the auto industry every day and often it is also about job losses and new skills etc,"
says Georg Leutert, IndustriALL automotive director.
"The auto meeting 2019 sends a clear message: The decisions on the future of the auto industry are taken today and we will take an active part in this process.”
Participants addressed gender discrimination in the auto sector and new strategies to overcome it. Five female colleagues from four countries and three continents shared their experiences mentioning sexism, unequal opportunities and based on this severe pay gaps. The panelists also pointed to the fact that organizations with a significant underrepresentation of women are less effective and not sustainable. The meeting established a task force to work on a gender policy for the sector until next year’s meeting.
The group discussed the severe consequences workers at Russian vehicle manufacturer GAZ are facing as US sanctions have been imposed on the Russian owner of the company. In addition to a strong declaration of solidarity, the network committed to explore further actions to ensure workers would not suffer.
Next year’s meeting will take place in Africa and focus on increased auto investments on the continent and related trade union issues and challenges.