Written by Sindmetal SJC Thursday, 09 January 2014 15:16
By the end of a year in which the automakers were largely benefited by the federal government with tax exemptions, General Motors announced, by wire, the layoff of hundreds of workers at the plant of São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil. The announcement comes in the week when automakers have received one more gift from the federal government, with the payment in installments of the IPI tax for automobiles after it has been fully reestablished. (IPI – a federal tax on the manufacturing of goods) The measure was taken at a time when the plant is not in operation, because the overwhelming majority of workers are in collective vacations until January 20, enjoying the well-deserved rest after a year of intense production. The Metalworkers Union of São José do Campos, affiliated to the CSP-Conlutas, has not even been notified by the company about the layoffs, which characterizes an utter lack of transparency on the part of GM. Until the morning of this Monday, December 30, the company has not given any information about how many workers and which manufacturing sectors have been hit by the measure. The Union has already tried, several times, to get in touch with the company, but has got no response so far. Layoffs are unjustifiable. Besides the tax exemption by the federal and state governments, GM, with the new models launched in 2013, has achieved an increase in sales and exports. This demonstrates that there is no crisis in the company and demonstrates also that GM has been using layoffs only as a way to expand its profits.
Production of the Classic model was ended
The MVA (Motor Vehicle Mount) sector had been shut down since the beginning of the year, when the company started to shift production of the Classic model to the Rosario plant, in Argentina. Throughout the year, hundreds of jobs were cut off at São José dos Campos’ plant. 304 workers have joined the VDP (Voluntary Dismissal Program). From April 2012 to July 2013, 1,500 jobs were shut down at the plant. Since 2012 the Union has been carrying out a wide campaign to defend jobs at GM, with demonstrations of workers and demanding that the federal government of President Dilma Rousseff prevents the automaker’s layoffs plans. We demand President Rousseff to intervene in this case, since GM was one of the major beneficiaries by the tax exemption given by the government, such as the decrease of the federal tax (the IPI). The company cannot be given such benefits and layoff hundreds of workers. In the past two years, about US$ 3 billion in taxes have been uncollected from GM because of tax waiver by the government in the automotive sector. This money could be used in the improvement of public services such as health, education and public transportation for the population instead of going back to the hands of the multinationals that operate in Brazil.
On the morning of Monday, December 30, the union held a meeting with part of those laid off workers. Despite being in vacations, workers crammed into the hall of the Union, showing willingness to fight against layoffs. According to a letter sent by the automaker to workers, the labor contract closes on December 31. GM’s attitude was repudiated by metalworkers, who approved the holding of a national and international campaign for the withdrawal of layoffs and for the employment stability, as well as a call on all trade unions and social organizations to join this fight. Together with the CSP-Conlutas, we will seek hearings with federal, state and municipal governments to condemn the layoffs and demand a positioning of the authorities in favor of workers. It is also being prepared an action seeking the suspension of the layoffs by the Labor Courts. The Union will also demand GM for the planned investments at the plant in São José dos Campos. Last June, the automaker signed an agreement to invest US$ 1,000 million in the local plant, which would generate 2,500 direct jobs.
Workers enjoying job stability were also laid off
Today’s meeting was attended by many workers who had achieved stability for being injured or for being in their pre-retirement period, as guaranteed by the collective contract. Even so, they were dismissed. Thus, the union will seek the Public Prosecution in order to schedule a hearing to denounce the illegal dismissal of those employees. Throughout the day the Union clerks received workers to guide them on the procedures to be adopted in the coming days. A new meeting of all laid-off workers and their families has been scheduled for January 8, at 10 am.