Wildcat strike stops production as workers eject union leaders at Ford Romania
23 December 2017
A wildcat strike broke out Thursday at a Ford auto plant in Craiova, Romania after workers forced the removal of the leader of the trade union and repudiated the 2018-19 contract agreed to Wednesday by the union and the company.
Tensions at the plant boiled over Thursday morning when roughly 200 workers spontaneously stopped work and began to march out of the plant. When the next shift began to come in to work, hundreds from the new shift joined the protest, which grew to about 1,000 workers. Production ground to a halt.
The strike at Craiova is a milestone in the growing opposition among autoworkers worldwide to the demands of the corporations and the pro-company unions. Autoworkers in the US, Canada, and around the world will recognize the struggles of their Romanian brothers and sisters as their own.
The strike began because the union-corporate contract agreement did nothing to offset the pay cut imposed by the Romanian government of Prime Minister Mihai Tudose of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). The government recently passed a tax law, set to go into effect January 1, which drastically increases workers’ tax contributions to fund social insurance. Whereas in the past each worker split the cost of this tax with their employer, the new law forces workers to pay the whole cost of 37.25 percent of their income.
The contract agreed to by the union includes a small wage increase that does not make up for the impact of the tax hike, which cuts pay by 22 percent. For this reason, Thursday’s strike is first and foremost a protest against the union, which workers view as an arm of the corporation. One striking worker told…