This is the translation of an article about recent struggles and class divisions in the global automobile industry by collective 'wildcat' from Germany. It was published in Wildcat no.95, Winter 2013/14.
In the last auto-article we expressed the vague hope that the defensive struggles in Western Europe and the US would come together with the offensive ones in the East (and South). Although actions and strikes in and around car and supplier factories have increased around the globe, they haven’t, up until now, converged.
A pamphlet by Mouvement Communiste and Kolektivně proti kapitálu about the wave of strikes that swept the industrialised coast of China in the summer of 2010.
The distribution of Faridabad Majdoor Samachar has recently been extended to the new industrial area of Manesar, near Gurgaon, an area dominated by the automobile industry. We document short reports from automobile workers, mainly within the fractured cooperation of parts manufacturing. Recent struggles like at Rico, Denso, AG Industries or VXL, workers have not been able to extend their disputes along the arteries of this vast territorial assembly line.
Honda Motorcycle and Scooter Worker
(Plot 1 and 2, Sector 3, IMT Manesar)
Once the fierce fighting ended yesterday (August 5, 2009), 100 strikers left the occupation throughout the night (many out of disgust at the ruthlessness of the state and company's violence). At the end of the negotiations last week, management's last offer was 60% of the workers would accept voluntary retirement (or termination) with 40% taking an unpaid furlough until they're called back. Negotiations began today at 11:00 a.m., with the union now agreeing to retirement for 52%, with 48% for the furlough. The strike is over and the occupiers will leave the factory any minute.
***Update August 6, 2009: the strike & occupation has come to an end on its 77th day***
It ended at 2:50 p.m. Korea time (30 minutes ago).
The final battle will come shortly. Serious injuries occurred today. The only remaining occupied factory building is the paint department, with about 500 strikers defending it. The cops have taken control of all the rest of the surrounding buildings. The crackdown on the strikers has been extremely brutal.
***Update August 5, 2009 4:30 p.m. (Korea time)***
Condition of workers mentioned in previous thread: one fell going from roof to roof and broke his vertebrae, as well as head injuries. Serious, but not life-threatening. 2 others fell from roof, but injuries were not as serious. But 30 others, on both sides, were injured and needed medical attention.
***Real Time Update***
Right now a special division of 2,500 police are engaged in an assault on the occupied factory. The cops have removed most barricades and are using aerial ladders to attempt to reach the fortified roof positions of the strikers. 3 helicopters are supporting the cop attack. Hand-to-hand battles are presently occurring and the strikers are fighting back with molotov cocktails. Due to the intensity of the fighting, there will probably be many casualties -- and possibly fatalities.
***Real Time Update (August 4, 2009; 1:30 p.m. Korea time)***
Talks between management and striking workers who've been occupying the factory have broken down. Electricity has also been turned off, in addition to water which was cut off two weeks ago.
From the Korea Times (with an obvious pro-company bias):
Ssangyong Faces Liquidation After Labor Talks Fail
By Kim Rahn, Park Si-soo
Troubled Ssangyong Motor faces liquidation after last-ditch negotiations between management and union members representing laid-off workers collapsed Sunday.
Negotiations have occurred several times throughout the day. The major hurdle is layoffs: management says they're necessary; strikers won't budge and demand that no one be laid off, even if it requires less hours for everyone and work furloughs. For the government and management it is crucial to break the strike so that austerity can be imposed on other autoworkers, as well as in other sectors needing restructuring due to the crisis. The biggest creditor of Ssangyong is Sanup Bank(Korean Development Bank), which is government owned.
***Update July 30, 2009***