India: Union suspends strike against threat of closure of Ford merger plant

India: Union suspends strike against threat of closure of Ford merger plant


Workers own a Ford assembly factory in Maraimalai Nagar (Photo courtesy of WSWS)

A strike by 1,500 militant workers, many of them young, against Ford’s international plans to close its merger plant in the suburbs of Chennai, the capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, was suppressed by the Chennai Ford Employees Union (CFEU). ) and disclosure. .

On July 2, the CFEU, in consultation with Ford management and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the ruling Tamil Nadu party, called off a five-week strike without negotiating with striking workers or even voting.

Under the agreement that was negotiated with Ford behind the backs of the workers, the union dismissed the workers’ claims for a completely unsafe work. It has also allowed Ford to reduce workers’ compensation if they become involved in future labor disputes or to try to prevent production at the factory before its planned shutdown later this month. This decision reiterates once again that the unions reject the workers’ struggle.

Although the party did what the company asked of, Ford has not returned to the second round at the factory, leaving 1,300 of the 2,638 employees now unemployed and unpaid. Ford will probably continue to produce for one shift until production is completely halted on July 31. That way, more young workers and more militants who started the May 30 strike without a CFEU can be barred from the plant until it closes.

In the months immediately after its closure last September, thousands of contract workers at the merger plant were gradually laid off. With workers in subcontractors, the closure of the plant is expected to result in the loss of nearly 40,000 jobs, most of them in the industrial region of Sriperumbudur outside Chennai.