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3 May, 2018General Electric workers on both sides of the Atlantic took action against the multinational conglomerate on 25 April, as the company prepares to slash thousands of jobs.
Timed to coincide with the General Electric (GE) annual shareholders’ meeting, workers in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK took part in a European Action Day to demonstrate against the plant closures, as well as plans to shut down R&D centres and cut innovation investments.
"With over 125 years of activity in Europe and the high-level expertise and technical know-how GE workers have developed, GE has become a key player in equipping Europe’s energy production”, stressed Luc Triangle, industriAll Europe General Secretary. “It is highly disappointing that GE seems ready to scrap everything they and their workers have achieved for the sole purpose of generating short-term cash and shareholder value.”
In North America, more than 150 General Electric workers and retirees represented by IndustriALL Global Union affiliates, Unifor in Canada and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), formed a picket outside the shareholders’s meeting which took place near Pittsburgh, USA.
General Electric has announced that it will cease operations in Peterborough, Ontario later this year, eliminating approximately 358 good manufacturing jobs.
Bill Corp, President of Unifor Local 524 in Peterborough, Ontario said:
“GE has walked away from the workers and communities that the corporation was built upon, leaving illness clusters, environmental damage and devastated local economies behind.”
Unifor and EU have united to launch the ‘General Electric Commit to our Communities’ campaign to transform the labor movement based on democratic, social unionism and international cooperation between American and Canadian workers.
Kan Matsuzaki, Director ICT Electrical&Electronics IndustriALL, said “GE management has intensified its attacks on sustainable jobs in many countries and disrespected the long-term commitments made with employees and communities where it operated. GE management must work together with trade unions representing GE workers with a view to achieve a fair and just social business model.”
GE unions around world will get together at the IndustriALL Global Union Meeting of the General Electric Trade Union Network in Toronto, Canada on 7-8 May 2018 to increase workers’ collective power and discuss strategies to engage with the company at the global level.