February 17, 2006: International Information on the Strike of the AEG Workforce in Nuremberg

For more than three weeks, the workforce of the AEG plant in Nuremberg (Germany) that belongs to the Electrolux Corporation has been resolutely conducting an unlimited strike to save every job and training place. The plant in Nuremberg with 1,700 employees is supposed to be closed down in 2007 and production is to be relocated to Poland. In a trade-union ballot, 96.3 per cent of the workforce had voted for an unlimited strike which began on 20 January 2006. The strike is organized according to the shifts and the work teams all round the clock on seven days of the week. The gates have been blocked apart from a few exceptions. The strike is being met with a wave of approval and sympathy of the population in the region, in all of Germany and it is being supported more and more as an international struggle.

 

 

The workers are determined to conduct a long strike in the struggle to save every job and are demanding that the strike be extended to other plants. Since 27 January 2006, the colleagues of Logistics Ltd. Nuremberg, who have been outsourced, and , in the meantime, the AEG plant in Dormagen (Germany) have joined the strike.

 

On 7 February 2006, a day of action took place in which workers and employees from all over Germany expressed their solidarity.

 

In a successful ballot, for which there was a hard struggle, 77.7 per cent of the workforce for Distriparts in Rothenburg (Germany) voted for strike. A fierce dispute has arisen around the position that the strike should actually be extended to this central European Electrolux spare parts warehouse. However, in secret talks between the chief of AEG Germany, Dieter Lange, and the responsible trade union leader of the Industrial Metal Union (IGM) in Bavaria, Neugebauer, , a strike pause for Distriparts was agreed upon, preventing Electrolux from being further hit sensitively. The background for this is the plan of the trade union bureaucracy to limit the goal of the struggle to a social compensation plan with better severance pay instead of waging a struggle to save every job and training place. Such a social compensation plan, however, is nothing less than the approval of the closure of the plant, only under better conditions.

 

The opponent of the striking workers is the Swedish supermonopoly Electrolux together with the bourgeois governments. Electrolux with 77,000 employees (according to its own statement the biggest producer of household appliances in the world) intends to close down half of its plants in Europe - e.g. apart from the plant in Nuremberg also plants in France, Denmark, Sweden - or relocate them into other countries.

 

Two European wide and corporate wide days of struggle preceded the strike of the workforce in Nuremberg. On 12 July 2005, 8,000 Electrolux workers went on strike simultaneously in plants in Nuremberg, Italy, Spain, France. On 21 October 2005, a European wide day of action took place with strikes and demonstrations in which 25,000 employees from Electrolux plants in seven European countries participated. The idea of struggling beyond the limits of branches, corporations and nations is taking root more and more. The workers are less and less prepared to let themselves be pushed into competition against each other and to show consideration for any government, regardless which kind. During the day of action of the European trade unions against the Bolkestein directive in Strasbourg on 14 February 2006, a delegation of the striking workforce from Nuremberg was welcomed enthusiastically.

 

The provocation of the board of directors of Electrolux to close the plant in Nuremberg in 2006 instead of 2007 because of the strike mobilizes the readiness for struggle instead of undermining it as intended. This has to get the correct response. The strike of the AEG workforce is taking place in a situation in which we in Germany are just experiencing a new wave of trade-union, independent struggles, strikes and demonstrations. 40,000 employees are already participating in the strikes of the trade union ver.di against the demand of the bourgeois governments and city councils to agree to an extension of working hours that would lead to a loss of 250,000 jobs. They set an important militant signal for the forthcoming wage negotiations.

 

The spirit of the workers’ offensive is coming to life. The declaration of solidarity of the Chairman of the MLPD, Stefan Engel, from 12 February 2006 to the striking AEG workforce in Nuremberg states:

„Dear colleagues,

on behalf of the members and friends of the MLPD, I extend to you cordial greetings and I wish you great success in your courageous and admirable struggle.

It has become a focal point of the struggle against closures and dismissals as one of the longest strikes in recent times. We experienced this the last time in October 2004 with the struggle of the Opel (GM) workforce in Bochum, which went on strike for seven days and attracted nationwide attention. Afterwards people said: Opel is everywhere. Now you are continuing this spirit of the workers’ offensive.

The MLPD has been supporting the workforce at the AEG plant for decades, promoting the unity of the workers and employees for class interests and supports a militant trade union work. Part of this is the commitment to a socialist alternative and international workers’ solidarity. It really can not be the last word in history that some corporation bosses and shareholders are determining the fate of thousands of families with one strike of the pen, only to get more market shares and higher profits.

Whoever fights can be sure of getting solidarity. We will do everything we can to support you. Good luck!"

In a nationwide leaflet entitled: „Solidarity with the struggle of the AEG workforce in Nuremberg" that was distributed on 16 February 2006, the MLPD makes the following suggestion among others for raising the strike to a higher level:

„The extension of the strike beyond the corporation, branch and country borders. Involving all AEG workforces in the struggle (including the outsourced). In this way it is possible to take effective action against the work of strike breakers and against production relocation making these ineffective. Solidarity and solidarity strikes and actions of the entire industrial branch. It is important to develop more democratic methods so that the workforce can debate and decide themselves about their forms of struggle and develop appropriate organizational forms in their meetings. Fight to save every job! Going into the offensive with the demand for the 30-hour workweek with full wage compensation as corporate-wide agreement! Unemployment can only be fought against effectively at the expense of the profits."

The workers at the Electrolux corporation have a common enemy. If they stand together internationally on the corporate-wide level and fight together they are stronger than the bosses of Electrolux. Common demands are necessary to bring about the international workers’ unity.

Corporate-wide struggle in solidarity and beyond national borders to save every job and training place of the entire Electrolux workforce!

For the immediate introduction of the 30-hour workweek with full wage compensation as corporate-wide agreement.

 

Workers of all countries, unite!

 

Dear colleagues and comrades,

we ask you to pass on the information on the struggle to the workers in the international plants of Electrolux as far as possible and, in this spirit, organize international solidarity with the strike, especially in the Electrolux enterprises in your countries.

Send messages of solidarity that are to be passed on to the AEG workforce in Nuremberg to: info@mlpd.de and solikreis@web.de

Donation account of the solidarity circle „Nuremberg is standing up!": Sparkasse Fürth, account number: 995 43 48, bank code 762 500 00

Literature

Literaturtipp An ever increasing number of local and regional ecological catastrophes plague humanity. They are symptoms of an environmental crisis which is in the process of transforming at an accelerated pace into a global environmental catastrophe. New Publication: CATASTROPHE ALERT! What Is To Be Done Against the Willful Destruction of the Unity of Humanity and Nature?

Read More…