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IndustriALL’s global leaders call on Volkswagen to get in line

30 May, 2016IndustriALL Global Union’s Executive Committee adopted a resolution calling on German car manufacturer Volkswagen to respect trade union rights at its Chattanooga plant in Tennessee, USA.

The meeting, gathering more than 200 union representatives from all over the world, took place on 25-26 May at the Frankfurt headquarters of IG Metall, German affiliate of IndustriALL Global Union.

The German auto giant is refusing to bargain with skilled trades workers at the Chattanooga plant who voted in December to choose IndustriALL affiliate, the United Auto Workers (UAW), as their exclusive representative for collective bargaining. Not only does Volkswagen’s refusal to bargain violate US law, it also infringes the company’s global framework agreement (GFA) with IndustriALL, as well as international labour standards.

IG Metall president Jörg Hofmann said:

“It is not acceptable that companies abide by the law in Germany but disregard it in other countries. Workers’ rights should be respected worldwide – particularly by companies headquartered in Germany.”

UAW’s secretary-treasurer Gary Casteel told the Executive Committee:

"There is a cartel of capitalists in the South of the USA working in cohesion with right wing groups and antiunion lawyers. The tricks and tactics in the south of the US won’t remain there – they will be coming to you soon.”

The Executive Committee unanimously passed the resolution that calls on Volkswagen to immediately begin negotiations with the skilled trades workers at Chattanooga.

The resolution also says that if Volkswagen has not formally agreed to begin collective bargaining with the workers by 22 June, IndustriALL shall initiate further actions, which could lead to the eventual revocation of the GFA between IndustriALL and Volkswagen.