The workers of DaimlerChrysler Brasil will resist to the closing of the automotive plant in Campo Largo, Paraná . Acording to Valter Sanches,coordinator of Workers Council of DaimlerChrysler Brasil , it is one resolution of the late II Encontro dos Representantes dos Trabalhadores na DaimlerChrysler do Brasil, held in São Bernardo (São Paulo) on august 30 and 31, 2001 . The resolutions of the meeting are( in portuguese) on
By Nicholas Winning
DaimlerChrysler AG, the world's No.5 automotive manufacturer, said on Tuesday it was closing a Chrysler plant in southern Brazil and would return the government subsidies it received to build it. The initial decision to suspend production at the 190-worker Campo Largo plant in the rich state of Parana was made in January under the recently-merged giants' $4 billion turnaround plan which included 26,000 job cuts worldwide. "What was studied was whether it would return (to operation) or not, and the decision was it would not," a company spokesman said in Sao Paulo.
The carmaker later released a statement saying it would return funds it had received from the Parana state government's drive to attract carmakers to the region with tax breaks and help with infrastructure costs. A source at the Parana state government who did not want to be identified said the incentives amounted to about 100 million reais ($39 million) at the end of last month, but the total figure had yet to be worked out.
A local newspaper report said the car company could have to pay back some 120 million reais ($47 million).
The state government source said DaimlerChrysler was the first of a group of three car makers that had entered under the incentive scheme to close up shop. The other two manufacturers are France's Renault SA and Germany's Volkswagen/Audi. Chrysler used the plant to produce the Dodge pickup, known locally as the Dakota, from mid-1998 for both the domestic and export markets.
It stopped production at the plant in April, but continued to pay salaries of the idle workers, according to local newspaper Valor Economico.
Claudio Gramm, secretary general of the metal workers union in the Parana state capital of Curitiba, which represents DaimlerChrysler Campo Largo workers, said he was not surprised by the decision as the plant had had problems from the start.
He said the Campo Largo factory had churned out just 13,500 Dakotas before production was halted in April, significantly less than it had planned to make when it took advantage of the fiscal incentives to set up shop. "In the beginning of 1999 they were already reducing work hours and salaries," Gramm said. He was getting in touch with local officials to confirm the DaimlerChrysler decision and work out what steps the union would make, he added. The source at the Parana government said it was a sign of the times in the global car market which has been pressured by downturns in the world's biggest economies.
"We're sorry about it, but we understand," he said.
Brazilian automakers began the year predicting bumper output as economists forecast strong growth in Latin America's biggest economy.
But a combination of energy rationing and rising interest rates sharply curtailed the expansion, leading 10 of the 11 automakers in Brazil to temporarily suspend production in July and August. Some announced voluntary redundancy programs. Gramm and the source at the Parana state government said they did not expect Renault SA and Volkswagen/Audi to close down although they admitted current tough market conditions for car makers may pressure their operations in the future. Gramm said a Volvo truck factory and New Holland's agricultural machine plant, both of which have been operating in the state since before the tax incentives were offered, were also unlikely to shut. DaimlerChrysler's Brazilian operations also build Mercedes-Benz trucks and buses in the industrial heartland of Sao Paulo and Mercedes A-class cars in the southern central state of Minas Gerais. ($1 = 2.56 reais). (Reuters September 4, 2001)
Wage demands are for a minimum increase of 7 per cent.
BRAZIL: Approximately 130,000 Brazilian autoworkers in the state of São Paulo began their campaign on August 30 for a wage hike of a minimum 7 per cent in September.
Workers at Ford, Toyota, DaimlerChrysler, Scania, Volkswagen, as well as auto parts plants are expected to down their tools in short temporary strike actions as a warning before wage negotiations get underway. The 7 per cent demand is consistent with the rate of inflation over the last 12 months, however workers will go after a real pay increase as well.
Last year, autoworkers won a 10 per cent hike in pay, which was the first time in six years that their increase exceeded the rate of inflation. http://www.imfmetal.org/imf/main/main_text.cfm?show=news&ID=1414
MEXICO CITY, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG and union negotiators on Wednesday reached a wage deal to end a 19-day strike that halted production at the world's only factory making the German automaker's popular New Beetle. After a marathon negotiating session, the two sides struck a pre-dawn accord that gave the VW Mexico workers a 10.2 percent wage hike. The deal also included a 3.5 percent raise in food-coupon benefits and 1.0 percent hike in aid toward buying school supplies for workers' children.
"The deal has been struck," union leader Jose Luis Rodriguez told reporters. He said production at the VW plant in Puebla, about 60 miles (100 km) east of Mexico City, would resume "as soon as possible."
VW also agreed to pay 50 percent of the wages the workers' lost during the strike, Rodriguez said. In talks mediated by the Labor Ministry, the combative VWunion backed down from its original demand of a 16 percent pay increase. Last week workers overwhelmingly rejected the automaker's offer of an 8.5 percent wage hike plus increased benefits.
The VW Mexico plant has 16,000 workers, 12,300 of whom are unionized. In addition to the New Beetle, the Puebla plant also makes the classic Beetle, Jetta and Golf Cabrio models.
During the strike, VW has argued that it could meet the union's demands because of a slowing economy in Mexico and the United States, the destination of some 90 percent of Mexico's exports. (Reuters September 5, 2001)
MEXICO CITY - Talks between strikers and Volkswagen administrators restarted Tuesday in an effort to reach an agreement that would finally bring an end to the strike that began on August 18th at a cost of 30 million dollars a day. Conversations came to a stand still over the weekend while strikers held closed door meetings to come up with a new offer, which they presented to the company today.
According to the last available figures, the 12,500 unionized workers were asking for a 16 percent salary increase while the company offered 10.2 percent.
Meanwhile, the governor of Puebla, the city 80 kilometers east of Mexico City where the plant is located, is calling for an end to the strike.
The Mexican daily Novedades reported employees of Volkswagen Mexico make 10 times less than VW workers in Europe and of the 16,000 employees in Puebla, 12,500 are unionized.
In this time of economic slowdown when 200,000 Mexicans have lost their jobs, much attention is being paid to the strike. (TheNewsMexico.com september 5, 2001)
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