The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

VW Bratislava:
Strike against Wage Dumping

Aug 21, 2017

This article was translated from the July 14, 2017 issue of Das Rote Tuch, a paper published by Bund Revolutionaerer Arbeiter (Revolutionary Workers’ Federation) in Germany.

Eight thousand workers of the VW (Volkswagen) plant in Bratislava, Slovakia won a 13.5 percent wage increase after a six-day strike.

At this plant workers build the Audi Q7, the VW Touareg, the Porsche Cayenne – all expensive cars. And they do this for a monthly wage of 1,800 euros (about 2,100 U.S. dollars) before deductions, not even half as much as a VW worker in Germany makes.

This was the first strike since the plant opened in 1991. But as one auto plant after another has been opening in Slovakia, and as Jaguar is building another one nearby, workers got slowly fed up, and refused to keep being exploited for such low wages.

VW tried to scare the workers, saying that if it paid higher wages, it would no longer be able to afford the plant in Slovakia. But the workers did not let themselves be intimidated. For six days, almost no car rolled down the assembly line. So the VW leadership gave in.

The strike drew much attention in all of Eastern Europe, and the bosses are worried that it may give ideas to workers at other auto plants.

The VW workers have shown that workers are not condemned to stay quiet in the face of exploitation. To the contrary, workers have a means, a powerful weapon, with which to oppose the capitalists. That weapon is the strike!