VW Strike in Brazil

Strike at the modular pilot-project

Von: Valter Sanches [SMTP:comissao.fabrica@mercedes-benz.com.br]

August,12, 1999 15:31


Dear friends,

I think there's a relevant information we should spread out. The 1.500 workers at the 9 different companies at the modular consortium VW - Resende - Brasil started a strike yesterday, after a 2 hours "warning strike" last week. Because of the brasilian union structure, every worker from each economic branch, belong to same union, generally in a regional basis. And that's the case of the metalworkers from Barra Mansa and region (which includes Resende).

Despite of the hesitant union leaders (this union doesn't belong to CUT) the workers forced them to lead the strike. The main issue is the improvement on the wages in order to level them with the wages of the VW workers at other plants in traditional unionized areas such as ABC region (where I'm from). The average wages in the ABC are almost 3 times higher than in Resende (+/- R$ 1700.00/month in the ABC and R$ 650.00 in Resende - US$ 920.00 x US$ 350.00). But that also shows that workers and unions can fight back modularization.

After the strike of the Ford - truck plant in S.Paulo for 2 weeks against the theaten of closure of the plant due to a new plant in Bahia state with a lot of governmental incentives, this present strike at VW Resende is another very good warm-up for the national protest that all the metallworkers from all assemblers and autoparts companies in Brasil will do probably on the next 24th August against this "tax war" between the states to atract investments such as VW Resende and Ford Bahia. Another goal of the movement is to start a bargaining of a minimum National contract at the auto sector.

In Solidarity,

Valter Sanches - Works Council at Mercedes-Benz -SBC Brasil / Metallworkers' Union of the ABC - CNM/CUT