May 4, 2009
On Thursday, April 23, more than a thousand workers from the Continental tire factory in Clairoix, France, marched in Hanover, Germany where the stockholders of this multinational company were holding their annual meeting. They were joined by their co-workers from the factory in Sarreguemines and those from other Continental factories in Germany, including those from the Stocken facility who are also being threatened with layoffs. It has been a long time since such a demonstration has been organized.
A special train carrying the Continental workers from France departed the night before from the town of Compiegne. When they arrived the next day, the train station in Hanover was packed. There were thousands of German demonstrators: hands were shook, embraces were had, and slogans appeared in the two languages, “Tous ensemble” in French and “Alle zusammen” in German – meaning in English, “All together”. Everyone felt the fraternal atmosphere.
A dynamic demonstration took place in front of the Palais des Congres (the convention center) where the stockholders were meeting, the little ones as well as some of the biggest shareholders, such as the majority holder named Schaeffler. During the meeting, the German workers enthusiastically welcomed the speech given by the spokesperson of the French workers of Clairoix who denounced the “parasites,” the “looting stockholders” with an unusual tone that was very combative – as was noted by a representative of the German union IG BCE. The speech ended with “Long live the struggle of the Continental workers! Long live the international solidarity of the workers!” It had a real meaning for the thousands who were gathered there.
This day should give a boost to the morale and the strength to continue the fight in Germany as well as in France.