After six days on strike, the metalworkers of General Motors in São José dos Campos (Brazil) led the automaker to back off on its plan to lay off immediately around 800 employees, dismissing them after 2 months.
On Wednesday, 25 a conciliation hearing, called by GM, took place at the Regional Labor Court (TRT) when the Judge and the Public Prosecutor proposed five months of lay-off plus three months of employment stability after returning for 650 workers as from March 9th.
This proposal was approved at a workers meeting on Wednesday, but GM is still adamant in its plan to dismiss 798 employees and therefore didn’t accept the proposal from the TRT.
Before returning home, workers traveled on foot by the side road of Presidente Dutra Highway (the most busy in the country), demanding from the president of the country Dilma Rousseff (PT): “Dilma, don’t allow dismissals at GM.”
The Metalworkers Trade Union of São José dos Campos, affiliated with Popular and Workers Center (CSP-Conlutas), demands that the President signs a Provisional Act ensuring job stability for workers at that companies that were benefited with tax exemptions. Despite the government exemptions granted in the last year (between January 2014 and January 2015) automakers closed 12,800 jobs in the country.
But, after 6 days on strike with the whole production of cars and parts going to a halt, the company was seriously hit. Parts are missing at the plants of São Caetano do Sul (São Paulo state) and Gravataí (Rio Grande do Sul state) and threatens their own production.
On the next day, Thursday, GM said it would accept the proposal made by the judicial authorities.
In addition, the strike days will not be subject to discounts on the workers’ payroll – the days spent on strike will be compensated throughout the year; there will not be any kind of retaliation against the strikers. During the lay-off period, the workers will receive their full monthly salary and it will not affect their Profit Sharing Program income.
Thus, the strike which started on February 20 is over. This was the longest stoppage which occurred at GM in São José dos Campos in the last 12 years.
Whenever there are dismissal attempts, there will be strikes
This year, two of the largest automakers in the country – Volkswagen and General Motors – attempted to carry out massive dismissals, but had to back down after the workers went on strike.
“The struggle’s strength knocked down dismissals, but the campaign for safeguarding of employment has to continue throughout the country”, stated the president of the Union, Antonio Ferreira de Barros.