Spanish Opel workers vote for strike action!

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WORKERS at Opel’s factory in Zaragossa, Spain, have announced four days of strikes starting next week, after failing to reach an agreement with Magna over the massive job cuts that it plans to make at the Spanish plant.

They have given an example to the Opel-GM workers in the rest of Europe on fighting the 10,500 sackings and the plant closures that Magna intends to impose on the Opel-GM workers of the UK, Belgium, Germany, and Poland.

Workers at all the Magna GM plants must now join the action!

At the Figueruelas plant near Zaragossa there will be strike action on 28 and 30 October, as well as 3 and 5 November.

Magna, the proposed new owners of Opel, want to slash over 1,300 of the 7,000 staff at the Spanish plant, and move part of its technology and equipment to Germany, threatening the plant with closure.

The decision to take strike action gives a proper response to the EU Commission’s decision not to intervene to stop the Magna deal after complaints that its financing by the German government meant that the German plants were getting more favourable treatment.

‘It is not the intention of the European Commission to block any particular deal, rather it is our intention to ensure that money made available is under conditions acceptable under state aid, internal market rules,’ Jonathan Todd from the European Commission said.

The German government has rushed to assure the Commission that the funding of £4.1bn was available to any successful bidder, not just Magna.

In fact, the German government insisted that Magna and the Russian Sberbank must be their partners.

And, in fact, this will not stop 4,500 German workers losing their jobs, and a closure sign being hung over the Bochum plant which has been well known for being militant.

Magna has now reached provisional agreements with the union leaders in Germany, the UK, Poland, Austria and Belgium.

Magna’s deal with GM will see it take a 55% stake in Opel, with GM keeping 35% and 10% going to employees, and the Russian state owned Sberbank taking up half of the Magna share.

The plan is for production to be shifted into Russia, where the price of labour power is much cheaper, and where Renault, whose van is produced in Luton, already has a 25 per cent share in the giant Avto-Vaz plant in the Volga city of Toglyatti.

In the UK the Unite leaders have accepted the Magna deal on behalf of the workers at the Luton plant. There has been no mass meeting in Luton!

In fact, Magna wants 600 workers to be made redundant in the UK, and this has been agreed by the union leaders for the workers.

Also agreed is that there will have to be longer hours and a two year wage freeze, which in fact will be a wage cut.

There will also be pension cuts and other efficiency savings that the workers have yet to be told about.

There is no guarantee of any kind that the Ellesmere Port plant or the Luton plant will remain open after 2013.

Workers at Luton will take heart from the decision of the Spanish workers to take strike action.

Workers at the UK Magna-GM plants must insist with their union leaders that they join the action with the workers of Zaragossa.

In fact the only way that their jobs can be saved and the plants kept open is through occupying the factories and launching a national campaign for their nationalisation.

Now is the time to launch this campaign alongside the workers of Zaragossa. The only way to prevent the cuts and closure of the GM-Magna plants in Europe is to nationalise them.