October 14, 2004: Production stands idle in two Opel plants

The production stands idle in plant I and II since 3:00 pm. After long delaying tactics the Opel-Managers let the cat out of the bag. In Germany, 10,000 jobs shall be exterminated in the years to come: 4,000 jobs in the Bochum plant (3,000 of them alone in 2005), likewise 4,000 jobs in Rüsselsheim. It is still left open where the remaining 2,000 jobs shall be exterminated.  Bourgeois leading politicians such as Clement (minister for economic affairs and employment) and Steinbrück minister-president of North Rhine-Westphalia) rushed to Bochum in the afternoon to intervene the ”tensed situation in the Bochum plant” (ddp, Oct. 14).

The crisis management carried out to pacify the staff has failed as well as the attempt of the right-wing leaders of works committees failed to put off the struggle until the corporate-wide action day on Tuesday: The Opel-workers stopped working at 3.00 pm in the Bochum Plants I and II. The workers of plant I marched off to the gate and protest there against the decisions of the board. The strike continues.

The latest special edition of the corporate-wide workers paper “Der Blitz” (”The Flash”) was handed out in the morning putting forward the demand:
”The plans for closure and dismissal must be brushed off the table! Whoever wants to blackmail us will harvest strike!”

As we did yesterday, rf-news talked to workers:

”We all have to go out on the lawn. No car should come off the production line. We will be in the group meeting in a moment and then everybody: out. I guess everyone agrees. We must close down here and go out on the streets and then no car shall come off the production line for three weeks.” ”We should go on strike. But all of us together in Germany. All Opel plants.” ”In my opinion we should go out on the streets. Wait and see? That’s wrong, I believe. Normally we should close down all here. It’s not good at all to relinquish.” Five workers were also standing in front of the gate at the Opel plant of Kaiserslautern: ”We are standing here with a number of workers to support the workers in Bochum. I think the workers here are great. I actually don’t understand, why they are planning to close down such a plant.” ”I experienced such development at Pfaff-company before. Just a small part of the large plant remained. Its even unrecognisable. They played false with the people and relocated everything to China and the people are sitting at home, sweeping the streets today and they don’t know how to feed their families. And when Hartz IV is implemented, than it’s over.”

The workers are moved by questions like what is hidden behind the plans, how to organize the necessary struggle and who is going to organize it. It’s as plain as a pikestaff: the works committee will not do this for the workers. It has not the right to do so – there is no right to strike in Germany outside the collective bargaining. Therefore, courage and determination of the Opel workers are largely challenged when organizing and independent a corporate-wide struggle.

It is a sure fact that they are supported by the mass of workers and employees in other plants and branches and by the people. With their strike the Opel workers give a signal to all workers in the struggle against the offensive of exploitation – mutual solidarity in struggle must be organized now. Today the students of a large vocational school centre in Rüsselsheim where Opel-apprentices are trained, too, already declared their solidarity with the Opel workers. The MLPD will also stand by the Opel-workers with moral and practical support – rf-news will stay up-to-date with the development.

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