The Spark

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

General Motors, Strasbourg, France:
Demonstration against the Sale of Factory

Jul 16, 2012

This article is translated from the July 6th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), published by the revolutionary workers organization of that name active in France.

On June 30th, more than 700 people demonstrated in the streets of Strasbourg France against General Motors, which was putting its factory up for sale. The march included more than 500 GM workers who came with their families and friends. Workers from other factories that are threatened with closure joined them. Some of them came from the Peugeot auto company’s factories in Mulhouse and Aulnay, in the Paris area.

On June 12th, general assemblies of 760 workers out of the 990 Strasbourg workers decided on the demonstration.

In his speech at the demonstration, a leader of the CGT (General Confederation of Labor ) union brought up the four demands voted on by the workers in general assemblies, including the guarantee of jobs and wages for everyone and the investment of the 300 million dollars promised in 2010 for new production in Strasbourg.

General Motors is a corporation that made 7.6 billion dollars in profits in 2011, and the Strasbourg factory had 129 million dollars in profits in 2010 and 2011 combined. So there’s plenty of money to maintain the 900 jobs at the factory. Over the past two months, production has increased, going from 850 to 1,200 transmissions a day, while many workers were laid off. GM received 5.5 million dollars out of public funds for these laid-off workers.

The demonstrators warmly applauded the CGT union leader of the Peugeot Aulnay plant. After saying that Peugeot closed factories while throwing a heavier work load on other factories, he emphasized that the bosses must be forced to divide the work among all the workers, without any pay cuts. The government has the power to impose that on rich billionaire bosses like the Peugeot family.

The demonstration boosted the morale of the participants. The unions called for a work stoppage on July 5th to plan what actions will come next.