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Strike victory at Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz - 1,550 jobs saved

3 September, 2015Thanks to the strikes organized by Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz workers in Brazil and to national and international solidarity, the two companies have agreed to reinstate dismissed workers. When workers unite and fight for their rights, they can achieve their goals.

Workers at two major automotive companies in Brazil went on strike after the dismissal of 50 workers at Taubaté and 1,500 at São Bernardo do Campo. In response to the large strike, the companies decided to cancel the dismissals and reinstate those that had already left their posts.

The strike at Volkswagen began on 17 August and received the support and solidarity of metalworkers in Brazil and throughout the world. The company finally backtracked on 28 August, opened a voluntary redundancy programme and amended the collective agreement accordingly. It also agreed to negotiate alternatives to dismissals should it wish to cut the workforce in future. The Taubaté Metalworkers’ Union is affiliated to the CNM-CUT and IndustriALL Global Union.

The strike at Mercedes Benz began on 24 August and also received support from dozens of unions in Brazil and abroad and from the Daimler World Works Council. On 31 August, the company cancelled the 1,500 dismissals and the workers agreed to an Employment Protection Plan, which guarantees job security for one year. The company amended the collective agreement accordingly. The São Bernardo Metalworkers’ Union is affiliated to the CNM/CUT and IndustriALL

Fernando Lopes, IndustriALL’s assistant general secretary said:

These struggles and victories prove that we need strong workplace organization and solidarity networks at both the national and international levels in order to confront the multinationals. They force the companies to negotiate and respect workers’ rights.