Ford! Stop Laying People Off!
November 15, 2016
The Ford plant in Vsevolozhsk is going to cut 130 employees. The workers are becoming more and more dissatisfied. Attempts to sweeten the pill have only added fuel to the fire. MPRA (Interregional Trade Union Workers Association) activists at the plant have related a telltale story. Recently, management decided to reward the best workers with movie tickets, including workers who had received layoff notices. One such worker threw the tickets in a manager’s face, saying he needed a job, not a handout. After this incident, they say, Ford’s director general Maslyakov has banned giving perks to workers about to be downsized because, allegedly, it appears “unethical.” MPRA would argue that it is the layoffs, whose soundness is quite dubious, that appear unethical.
“We are told the layoffs are unavoidable,” reads a trade union leaflet, “but who has verified and proven it? Shouldn’t management first save money by cutting the wages and bonuses of managers?”
Today, trade union activists came to the front gates of the auto plant to hold solo pickets and talk with workers. Some of them said straight out they have nothing to lose. The layoffs are a challenge to everyone, not only to those slated to be fired, for everyone could find themselves in their shoes. MPRA urges people to join the union and support the protest campaign. We have no doubt the decision to cut jobs can be reconsidered if the majority of employees join the fight to save those jobs. MPRA’s experience at Omsktransmash and the Volkswagen plant in Kaluga, where collective action and negotations helped avoid massive layoffs, testifies to this fact.
We call upon fraternal trade unions and all people for whom social justice is not an empty phrase to support Ford workers personally by sending us photos containing messages of solidarity and the demand that Ford rescind its order to cut employees.
Translated by the Russian Reader. You can read my previous posts about the Interregional Trade Union Workers Association (MPRA), other independent Russian trade unions, and the brave campaigns waged by other Russian workers here and here.