Factory meeting at Ford Motors Saarlouis – What must be done to defend our jobs! | Daily News Byte

Factory meeting at Ford Motors Saarlouis – What must be done to defend our jobs!

 | Daily News Byte

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Ford Saarlouis shift change. [Photo: WSWS]

The following appeal was issued and distributed prior to the factory meeting held at Ford Motors in Saarlouis, Germany on December 14.

Dear Brothers,

Today is the last factory meeting of the year. Over the more than 50 years of our factory’s existence, 2022 has been the most important and instructive. But based on a bold drawing of last year’s lessons, 2023 will be the most important year yet. This is the year that Ford workers in Saarlouis will free themselves from the grip of the IG Metall union and its works council and take our livelihoods into our own hands.

The main lesson of the past year is clear: Our jobs cannot be defended by IG Metall and its works council led by Markus Thal. If the struggle remains in their hands, it will lead to disaster.

As early as autumn 2021, the Ford group was apparently considering closing its plant here in Saarlouis. The last letter issued by the outgoing general works council chairman, Martin Hennig, announced a divisive bidding competition among Spanish Ford workers in Almussafes, Valencia, at the beginning of October 2021.

Thal supported and organized this shameful maneuver. On January 27, he and his Spanish counterpart, works council president José Luis Parra, presented their respective bids to management. Both worked together on the Ford European Works Council for many years.

Thal and Parra said there was no alternative to playing our workers against each other and making huge cuts in cooperation with their respective managements—without even informing us. Thal still hasn’t told us what far-reaching cuts he plans to impose on us in Saarlouis and other Ford workers in Cologne and Aachen.

Then, when the decision against Saarlouis was announced, the union and works councils organized a pseudo-protest away from the factory gates, thus preventing any hope of occupying the gates or even the entire factory to enforce our demand to keep our jobs. The mood of many of us fell late in June.

Although Thal never tires of emphasizing how he feels cheated, he continues to work closely with the “tricksters” to conclude a “socially acceptable” deal, i.e., for the extermination of the plant. We are told that we must put our trust in Ford, the Saarland state administration, IG Metall and the works council. Anyone who criticizes Thal and his soldiers must be silenced and opposition to his path will be met with intimidation. This has been particularly clear in this year’s council of works elections, whose results are reminiscent of the types of elections held in dictatorships.

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