Wildcat strike at German car part manufacturer

Workers at Karmann in Osnabrueck

Workers at car parts manufacturer Karmann have walked out after being informed of 1400 job cuts no redundancy pay.

Karmann in Osnabrueck manufactures convertibles (1,400 workers) and roof-systems (1,100 workers), for example for Mercedes, Audi and Renault.

For some time it was clear that there will be job cuts in one of the production departments (paint-shop, metal parts).

Workers accepted wage cuts and workers in the other departments (convertible roof parts) are supposed to repay a 30 million Euro credit the company 'needed' to keep up production.

On 19th of February 2009 the media announced that 1,400 workers will lose their jobs by May 2009, there will be no compensation/severance pay - which was a usual way in the past to sweeten redundancies, workers in bigger companies received up to 100,000 Euro.

On 21st of February workers went on a wildcat strike. It is not clear whether the 1,100 employees in the roof-system department keep on working or not.

Workers group Prol-Position expressed concern at the "delayed workers response" and that by now it may be "too late in order to build up enough pressure".

Posted By

Feb 23 2009 11:06


Attached files


Feb 23 2009 13:30

hand I am south korean worker. Your struggle, I will cooperate. I am 40 years old. Live in seoul.

Feb 23 2009 13:32

Wild cat strike will live forever! In korea trade union bureaucracy is suppresses workers struggle from below.

Feb 23 2009 15:41

As long as you define a "wildcat" as a strike that is not controlled by the trade unions or even is against what the trade unions want, the strike a Karmann is not really a wildcat. The shift just stopped working and started discussing once they have been informed, that 1.390 workers will loose their jobs 3 month earlier than already scheduled and that the company won't pay them any compensation. A union spokesman said “we did not call for a strike, but we can perfectly understand that people did not like to work in that moment”. If you know the union bureaucracy slang you can read this as “We did not call for a strike because of the necessary formal proceedings, but of course we are behind the work-stoppage“.

Concerning the lay-offs in the car assemby there was a deal with the IG Metall trade union last year. In fact workers have little power, because there is hardly anything to produce for them. They assembled the last Audi A4 car last week, as Audi cancelled the contract due to a vast deline in Audi car distribution. The only car that is still assembled in small numbers is a Mercedes cabriolet. Just like the comrades from prol position reckoned–there might have been a chance for achieving something with a wildcat once Karmann announced the lay-offs last year, but IG Metall were and stayed in control of everything. Now it is propably to late.

Feb 23 2009 20:49

I see wildcat strike is alternative for controlled strike by trade union, but wildcat strike without solidarity, doesn't change situation.