October 15, 2004: The Strike Front at Opel Bochum (GM) is Standing!

Second International Information

Since Thursday, 14th October 2004, the workforce of Opel (General Motors) in Bochum, a plant with 9,600 employees, is conducting a strike. The early shift of plant II stopped working for two hours. The late shift afterwards stopped almost the entire production in all three plants since 15.00 o'clock. Since then no car is being produced in Bochum. The strike is being "handed over" from shift to shift, the workers are coming to the plant, are discussing and voting for the continuation of the strike. In Germany there is no right of strike outside the customary right for trade-union strikes at trade-union wage negotiations. The strike at Opel is independently organized, with the active participation of trade-union members and trade-union representatives. The youth as well is involved. The colleagues have adopted the call of the factory newspaper "Der Blitz" of the whole group of companies in which the MLPD is cooperating. "The plans for closures and dismissals must be canceled completely! Everyone who wants to blackmail us will get a strike!" They also could not be stopped by the warnings of the reformist trade union leadership "not to escalate the situation".

The continuation of the struggle at Opel is also of great significance for a successful organization of the struggle on corporation level and for involving the other Opel plants into the independent strike. In Germany alone the destruction of 10,000 jobs within the next three years is being planned, in combination with further provocation of the management. The workers in the supply industry as well are affected by these plans, according to official figures at least 40,000 workers. The MLPD is calling for solidarity strikes in Germany!

The factory units of the MLPD are actively involved in the organization of the strike. The MLPD supports the striking colleagues to process the experience, to prepare themselves for new maneuvers and blackmails and to cope with the corroding effect of the petty-bourgeois mode of thinking.   The open microphone adopted from the Monday demonstration movement is an important instrument at the strike meetings taking place every hour and contributes to the active participation of the colleagues in the strike. The MLPD makes proposals and puts its "know how" to the disposal of the strikers, e.g. for the election of an independent strike leadership. It also promotes a strike culture. In Bochum two solidarity groups have been founded among the population to publicize the strike, organize the catering, collect donations etc. There is the proposal to organize a party on Sunday with the cooperation of the families and the participation of the population for supporting the colleagues.

A strike program is being discussed among the strikers which the factory newspaper "Der Blitz" has proposed. This comprises among other things:

We are fighting as long as the threat of destroying 12,000 jobs in Europe is not being revoked completely.

The struggle for every job and training post and for taking on all trainees according to their education.

For the 30-hour workweek with full wage compensation in all European plants. No wage cuts and dismantling of rights for which people have struggled. For a full legal strike in all matters. Combination of the struggle with the Monday demonstrations against the government under the slogan: Down with Hartz IV - we are the people!

The struggle has to be waged unrelentingly. Everybody who attacks one of us will get into trouble with all of us! 

The struggle is an international one!

The militant attitude of the colleagues at Opel was also decisive for the fact that meanwhile the European Metal Workers' Association has called for a day of action at General Motors in Europe on Tuesday, 19th October. All over Europe GM wants to destroy 12,000 jobs for the time being.  But the international production combine is very vulnerable. Even after one day of strike there are the first losses of production in other factories.

The struggle all over Europe in this international supermonopoly must become a militant signal for the coordinated international fighting power of the industrial proletariat!

The rulers are realizing this power. Therefore, we have to reckon with increased countermeasures and suppression. Let us organize the international solidarity - let us coordinate the struggles all over Europe and internationally!

The broad independent strike at Opel marks a higher level after the strikes and struggles of the workforce of the DaimlerChrysler corporation in June. It takes place in a situation in which in Germany there are still mass demonstrations against the government in more than 100 cities, in close cooperation with the MLPD, after the opportunists have almost completely left the movement after the splitting by the leaders of Attac and PDS. In other enterprises as well the struggles and independent strikes are increasing, e.g. at the piston producer Mahle or the toy factory Märklin this week. The combination of the struggle of the core of the industrial proletariat with the people's movement against the government is an explosive mixture! The MLPD has made the assessment that this independent strike can initiate the transition of the working class offensive on a broad front. This is of strategic significance for the development of the class struggle, for the overthrow of the capitalist system and for genuine socialism.

Dear colleagues, dear comrades,

we ask you to organize the international solidarity with the independent strike in Germany, especially in GM plants and the automobile sector, to support the conduct of a strike on corporation level and an active day of strike of the GM workers all over Europe on 19th October 2004.

Solidarity messages can be addressed to the solidarity group at Opel Bochum;

E-mail: anne.zorro@t-online.de, and please inform info@mlpd.de

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