October 18, 2004: The Workers Reject the Provocation of GM - the Strike is Going on!

The Workers Reject the Provocation of GM - the Strike is Going on!

Eaerly on Mondy at 6.00 the strike meetings of the workers have unanimously decided to continue the strike in Bochum. On Saturday and Sunday as well production was stopped. The independently organized strike is being further conducted with extraordinary readinss for action and fierceness. All gates are guarded by pickets, in order to prevent the delivery of components to other plants. The strikers get no wages and also no strike pay by the trade unions, which is the case in trade-union organized collective bargainings.

The overwhelming solidarity from the population strengthens the fighting morale. Hundreds of family members, friends, colleagues and delegations from other enterprises used the weekend to visit the strikers at the gates and express their solidarity. They brought coffee, cakes and sandwiches - often donated by local traders - which contributed to an excellent atmosphere of solidarity.

From Monday onwards there will be considerable stoppages at other European Opel plants. On Tuesday, 19th October, an Europe-wide GM day of struggle will be prepared. The German Metall Union and the Eureopean Metal Union Federation are calling for this action.

The strike in Bochum is taking effect and GM fears even more the power of the workers when they unite internationally and hit the corporation with a Europe-wide strike against the program of horror. For this reason General Motors is increasing the pressure and threatens with the closure of plants. In the newspaper "Welt am Sonntag" GM chief Henderson threatened the employees of Opel in Bochum indirectly with the closure of their plant: "The danger of the closure of a plant is not out of the way", Henderson was warning." This provocation was rejected by the strikers and the many supporters from the families, the population and other enterprises. On Saturday evening a resolution was adopted unanimously at one of the hourly strike meetings at plant I at 8.30 which says among other things:

"From the press we, the employees and their families and friends at plant I, gate I, have learned the follwing news: GM president Henderson is threatening us: If the workforce does resume work immediately, the plant in Bochum will be closed down at once.

We are declaring: We reject this provocation! We do not allow us to be blackmailed. We say: Now even more! Our struggle continues and must become even stronger! The workforce will debate about appropriate counter-measures to be taken for the next days. C.P.Forster also said: If the workforce is ready to accept a wage cut of 30 per cent we can again negotiate. We resolutely reject this as well!

Our demands:

- No plant closures - not in Bochum or elsewhere in Europe!

- We are fighting for every job! No dismissals for operating reasons - there are no socially acceptable job cuts!

- No more sacrifices! We do not give up one cent or any social services!

We do not resume work until this demands are fulfilled!"

The attempts of bourgeois politicians like the minister of trade and commerce, Clement (SPD), but also of a part of the works committee members and the rightist Metal Workers' Union leadership to persuade the workers to break off the strike in order to guarantee a "calm climate for negotiations" , have also been rejected. it was explicitly made clear at the open microphones in the strike meetings that only the workforce itself is authorized to take a decision in favor or against the continuation of the struggle, a decision that also the works committee is respecting.

There are important discussions among the strikers. E.g. it is important to recognize that the problem is not a "GM crisis" or a "crisis of Opel". It is rather a merciless struggle for shares in the world market of the various automobile corporations. It is about an intensification of the exploitation offensive within the framework of the international structural crisis, which in no way is a "special feature of Opel". The markets are being limited by unemployment and wage cuts, while production is soaring. GM intends to reconquer the leading position in the wolrd market which it has lost to the European car producers. These held a world market share of 30.6 per cent in 2000, GM only 26.7 per cent. The workers cannot accept to subordinate themselves to this competition.

Fight for every job at the expense of the profits!

For the 30-hour workweek with full wage compensation as agreement in the whole group of companies!

Dear colleagues and comrades,

this independently organized strike marks a point of culmination in the class struggle for the development of the working class offensive on a broad scale. This can be the transition to a revolutionary ferment.

We are in a situation that has not yet occured in Germany since the Second World War, since there also exists an independent people's movement closing ranks with the working class offensive. The MLPD supports the development of the strike into the working class offensive - this would also mean a significant strenghtening of the international working class movement!

To achieve the workers' unitiy the struggle at GM has to b conducted on corporation level!

We ask all of you for support, in order to further develop the international cooperation on corporation level.

·        Send Information on the situation and discussions in the GM plants in your countries!

·        Inform on the strike at Opel in Germany, and organize as far as possible contacts with the workforce of GM plants and their organizations in Europe and worldwide!

·       Support the preparation and conduct of the Europe-wide day of struggle at GM on Tuesday, 19th October!

·        Send solidarity messages to the striking workforce in Bochum - please until today on Monday - for the Europe-wide day of struggle!

Europe-wide strike until the GM plans are cancelled!

 Please send Messages of solidarity  Solidaritätsadressen to the solidarity group in Bochun: anne.zorro@arcor.de and a copie to: info@mlpd.de

Solidarity donations for the support of the Ople workers on strike:

Headword Arbeitersolidariität (workers' solidarity)

Account number: 210 333 119 BLZ 360 700 24 Deutsche Bank ESSEN

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