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Brazilian unions fight to protect 5,000 jobs at Ford

19 January, 2021Ford has announced its intention to close three plants in Brazil, resulting in 5,000 workers losing their jobs. IndustriALL is calling on Ford to reconsider the decision and to discuss alternative solutions with the unions.

After 102 years of building and selling cars in Brazil, Ford has announced that it intends to close three plants in Taubaté (São Paulo), Camaçari (Bahía) and Horizonte (Ceará).

The decision will leave Ford's 5,000 employees out of work, and will also affect around 70,000 jobs throughout Brazil's supply chain.

The announcement from Ford, who closed its São Bernardo plant in 2019, came without any discussions with unions or local authorities and in the midst of the global pandemic, which has hit Brazil hard. The decision is a devastating blow to the workers, their families and their communities.

In a letter from IndustriALL Global Union, general secretary Valter Sanches asked Ford’s chairman and CEO, James D. Farley Jr, to reconsider the decision and to engage with unions to discuss alternative solutions.

Sanches pointed out that the decision was a blatant violation of the global framework agreement signed with IndustriALL in April 2012. The GFA stipulates that timely information and consultation is а prerequisite for successful communication between management and workers’ representatives.

Union confederations in Brazil issued a joint statement calling for protests this week outside Ford dealerships. Ford unions are already organizing campaigns and meetings with authorities and have said that they won't give up.

Cláudio Batista, president of Taubaté Sindmetau metal workers' union, part of the national confederation of metal workers CNM/CUT, said:

"The workers won't simply walk out the door. We're going to keep fighting for our jobs."

Júlio Bonfim, president of Camaçari metal workers' union, affiliated to Fitmetal/CTB, said:

"Ford is closing its doors without negotiations. It's a terrible situation and shows their total disregard for thousands of workers. The union will remain firm and strong and keep fighting."

José Milton Pereira from the Maracanaú metal workers' union in Ceará, Horizonte, SindimetalMac, affiliated to CNTM/FS, said that the union is monitoring the situation and will try to save the jobs and ensure workers are not stripped of their rights.

In a letter to national confederations CNTM/FS and CNM/CUT, affiliated to IndustriALL, general secretary Valter Sanches said:

"I express our full support for Ford workers in Brazil as they fight to protect their jobs and keep production plants open. IndustriALL wholeheartedly condemns the unilateral way in which Ford has shut down operations in Brazil, with no prior discussions with unions or authorities. The management's unacceptable position is a blatant violation of the GFA.”