Solidarietà tra i lavoratori

Circa un milioni di membri attivi e di pensionati dell’Unione Internazionale si sono uniti ai lavoratori agricoli che nelle ultime settimane hanno intensificato la loro lotta per salari più alti e più sicure condizioni di lavoro.

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The one million active and retired members of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) stand in solidarity with Chinese autoworkers who in recent weeks have escalated their struggle for higher wages, safer working conditions, and the establishment of independent trade unions. The current wave of labor unrest began with a spontaneous strike at a Honda component manufacturing plant in Guangdong province and has now spread to Toyota parts plants in Tianjin and elsewhere throughout southeast China’s industrial belt.

The Chinese government has used the suppression of wages and worker rights, manipulation of its currency, and heavy subsidization of industry to create an extremely attractive investment environment for foreign-based automotive manufacturers. In addition to Honda and Toyota, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler-Fiat have established profitable joint-venture operations with Chinese auto companies, as have the Europeans (Daimler and Volkswagen) and Koreans (Hyundai and Kia).

So-called “unions” in China are affiliated under the Communist Party-dominated All China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU), which, in turn, is heavily influenced by both domestic and foreign corporations. The maintenance of foreign direct investment apparently takes priority over the promotion of basic human rights. The 2010 U.S. State Department’s Annual Report on Human Rights characterized the ACFTU as “generally unassertive and ineffective in protecting the rights and interests of members.”

In the absence of real unions in China to prevent the harsh exploitation of Chinese auto workers, the global automakers are able to suppress wages and worker rights at their operations throughout the world, including here in the United States. The world’s major manufacturers, regardless of country of origin, are shifting production to those locations where wages are low and unions non-existent, whether they be in China, India, Mexico, or regions of the United States. The threat, or reality, of such production transfers weakens the ability of American workers to achieve and maintain higher wages and better benefits.

The strikes and protests taking place in China now are a reaction to the same anti-worker, anti-union business strategy employed by many companies here in the United States. When American Honda, Toyota, or Hyundai workers attempt to organize, the companies threaten to fire them or move their jobs. The behavior of Toyota management in China is not much different than here in the United States where, earlier this year, Toyota decided to cease production of its profitable Corolla at its only UAW-represented plant (NUMMI) in California and to move thousands of jobs to an assembly plant under construction in non-union Mississippi.

The UAW stands in solidarity with China’s autoworkers and their reasonable demands for higher wages, shorter working hours, and unions that truly represent their economic interests. We call on Honda, Toyota, and other auto manufacturers to improve the living standards of their employees by implementing a genuine system of collective bargaining.

Fonte: Dossier Tibet, 30 giugno 2010

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