Ford workers are looking for ways to protect their jobs and have agreed to begin talks with the US carmaker’s global management team today. (see AutoInformed.com on Latest Ford Restructuring – Brazil Manufacturing to Cease) They are also looking into the possibility of introducing a bill to nationalize Ford’s operations in Brazil. Ford Brazil will end production at its Camaçari, Taubaté and Troller plants during 2021 as weak sales have resulted in years of significant losses. Ford has been in Brazil for more than a century.
However, Ford maintains at the moment it will keep South America headquarters, a product development center and proving grounds in Brazil. Last March Ford “temporarily” stopped South American Production at its manufacturing sites in Brazil and at the Pacheco plant in Argentina, in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus in South America and Ford’s profitability. (See AutoInformed – Ford Motor Maxes Out Lines of Credit , Ford Q3 Net Income at $2.4B Treads Water. Q4 $500M Loss?)
According to Brazil’s Inter-Union Department of Socioeconomic Statistics and Studies, almost 124,000 direct and indirect jobs are at stake. The Taubaté metalworkers’ union (Sindmetau) signed an agreement with Ford during a conciliation hearing at the regional employment tribunal on 18 February. There it was agreed that talks would be held with the US carmaker’s global management team today to try and prevent Ford from shutting down operations in Brazil. Under the agreement, jobs, wages and benefits of Taubaté workers will be maintained until the end of the negotiations, and production resumed on 22 February. Whatever happens, labor’s call for justice will continue as workers campaign to protect their jobs; they recently held a three-hour procession from the Ford plant in Taubaté.
The Camaçari metalworkers’ union attended a conciliation hearing at the regional employment tribunal (TRT5-BA) on 18 February. They agreed that plant workers would return to work, and Ford agreed to pay their wages for three months, giving time for talks to take place between the parties.
The Human Rights Committee met with representatives from the unions, the judiciary, parliament and other groups to look into the possibility of introducing a bill to nationalize the carmaker’s operations in Brazil. Their aim is to reverse the impact of the plant closures and deindustrialization in the country. Unions from around the world have sent letters of solidarity, calling for active industrial policies that put workers’ interest on the same level as those of company owners.
Valter Sanches, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary, says, “I congratulate Ford workers and unions for fighting to protect their jobs. They have already come out victorious – the employment courts have ruled favorably, paving the way for further negotiations. I’m grateful for the solidarity unions around the world have shown with colleagues in Brazil.”