Auto parts workers strike in Germany
IG Metall accepts mass redundancies and plant closures
18 July 2018
The strike at the auto supplier Neue Halberg Guss (NHG) continues, but the strikers face a serious problem. Workers are striking to defend all of their jobs under threat in plants in Leipzig and Saarbrücken, but the IG Metall trade union has a very different perspective: “socially acceptable” job cuts.
The fact that IG Metall is not prepared to expand the strike on the basis of defending all jobs has only served to encourage company management to increase its attacks on strikers.
The Frankfurt Labour Court dismissed a temporary injunction sought by the company, which aimed to ban the labour dispute. This has led to an intensification of the strike by more than 2,000 workers in Leipzig and Saarbrücken who are fighting to prevent the wiping out of a thousand jobs and the closure of the Leipzig plant.
Neue Halberg Guss supplies the automotive industry—above all Volkswagen, but also Daimler and Opel—with engine blocks, cylinder heads and drive shafts. The company was acquired earlier this year by the Prevent Group owned by the Hastor family, which is haggling with its major customer, VW, over prices and terms of delivery. When the VW Group cancelled important orders from its supplier, management promptly decided to close its plant in Leipzig with 700 employees at the end of 2019 and cut 300 from the 1,500 workforce at its main plant in Saarbrücken.
On June 14, workers at both plants began strike action and the labour dispute has enjoyed broad and growing support from the population. Cars honk their support when they drive past the pickets and solidarity delegations arrive daily at the over 100-year-old factory in…