Factory meeting at Ford Motors Saarlouis – What must we do to defend our jobs!


Gear shift at Ford Saarlouis (Photo: WSWS) [Photo: WSWS]

The following appeal was issued and distributed prior to the factory meeting held at Ford Motors in Saarlouis, Germany on December 14.

Dear brothers and sisters :

Today is the last factory meeting of this year. In the more than 50 years of our factory’s existence, 2022 has been by far the most eventful and enlightening year. But based on a courageous understanding of the lessons of the past year, 2023 will also be the most important year yet. This will be the year when Ford workers in Saarlouis break free from the stifling control of the IG Metall union and its works council by taking up the defense of our livelihoods.

The central lesson of the past year is clear: our jobs cannot be defended by IG Metall and its works council headed by Markus Thal. If the fight remains in his hands, it will lead to disaster.

As early as autumn 2021, it was clear that the Ford group was planning to close its plant here in Saarlouis. The latest letter published by outgoing General Works Council Chairman Martin Hennig announced a divisive tender for Spanish Ford workers in Almussafes, Valencia, in early October 2021.

Thal supported and organized this shameful maneuver. On Jan. 27, he and his Spanish counterpart, works council president José Luis Parra, delivered their respective offers to management. The two worked together on Ford’s European Works Council for years.

Thal and Parra claimed there was no alternative to pitting our workforce against each other and made huge cuts in conjunction with their respective leaderships, without even informing us. Thal has still not told us what major cuts he intends to impose on Saarlouis and other Ford workers in Cologne and Aachen.

Luego, cuando se anunció la decisión contra Saarlouis, el sindicato y el comite de empresa organized a pseudo protest lejos de las puertas de la fábrica, evitando así cualquier posibilidad de ocupar las puertas o incluso toda la fábrica para hacer cumplir nuestra demande de mantener nuestros jobs. Subsequently, the mood of many of us hit a new low in June.

Although Thal never tires of pointing out how cheated he feels, he continues to work closely with the “cheaters” to finalize a “socially acceptable” deal, i.e. the liquidation of the plant. We are told that we have to trust Ford, the administration of Saarland, IG Metall and the works council. Anyone who criticizes Thal and his agents must be silenced, and any opposition to their careers is met with intimidation. This was particularly clear in this year’s works council elections, the results of which are reminiscent of the kinds of elections held under dictatorships.

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