The text of leaflet which was spread in Škoda/Volkswagen factories in three towns in the beginning of February 2007.
TO GAIN FROM ŠKODA’S PROFIT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE!
Economy grows – and commentators say this situation is the most suitable one for deepening of reforms whose aim is to worsen conditions of working class (employees of factories, offices, schools, unemployment etc) further. Also current “collective bargaining” in Škoda Mladá Boleslav which is related primarily to wages and their structure is happening in the situation when production in Škoda growths and is one of the highest in the Volkswagen family.
But this situation is not favourable only for capital. Workers have a really good chance to turn it (through their independent struggle, ie without unions and parties) into their benefit.
WHAT CAN POWER OF SKODA’S WORKERS REST IN?
Škoda management can’t threaten workers with sacking: automotive sector (which contains also supply companies) expands and it already now has a problem concerning lack of workers. TPCA pooled in Kolin all three shifts not without big troubles; Škoda experienced similar problem when it started production of Roomster in Kvasiny; Siemens can’t expand production of rail vehicles in Zličín in Prague just because a lack of workers.
Workers can use for their benefit also organisation of work: production line (between shops and between -supply- factories) depends on just-in-time supplies and a stoppages of in any point leads to a paralysis of production as a whole.
Examples show that these are weak points of capital. When there was three ours strike in Škoda in April 2005 employer known that they couldn’t be just so sucked – and also bosses of other profitable companies (Bosch in Jihlava, TPCA in Kolín, VDO Siemens in Brandýs, Visteon in Nový Jičín or Continental in Otrokovice…) feared that workers could claim “a share in profit”. A vulnerability of organisation of work is testified by the fact that mere power cut in paintshop in TPCA paralysed the whole factory for 30 hours. Workers in factory in Melfi in Italy succeeded to paralyse a whole production of Fiat in the country which depended on supply of plates from Melfi, a they gained a improvement of working conditions.
HOW THIS POWER CAN BE USED?
Things around us can be changed – and especially by workers, whose work creates profits. But just in the case if they themselves decide about aims/demands and lead struggles for them. To trust unions and their “collective bargaining” is lost game. After all unions started bargaining by bargaining against workers. When unions boss Povšík started to meet with shop organisations he stated for “Škodovácký odborář” : “Actually it will be the first level of collective bargaining – the team of negotiators versus rank and file. We are going not to accept any unreal number proposed by rank and file which would demolish other values.” Unions at work: Firstly it is necessary to pacified rank and file, to accept “realistic” number after (as the world goes) to fall back during bargaining and got across even “more realistic” number acceptable for management. (Two years ago unions in Škoda demanded growth by 10 percent to obtain growth by 7 percent: What could workers succeed in getting in that time if they would choose demands and fight for them themselves?)
Who does decide what is a “realistic” number? Trade unions and the management? Firstly real is the fact that Škoda’s clear profit rose by 134 percents just between 2004 and 2005; that a growth of wages by 8 percents for next two years would just cover (estimated) inflation; that an acceptance of any change of wage system which would bound wage to efficiency of worker/sale of Škoda cars would be a big victory for bosses; that all warnings by management about “relocation of production” is just propagandist lie – the building of TPCA or Hyundai factory which were used as arguments by Jahn, didn’t mean abolition of jobs in Korea/France/Japan and their transfer to Czech, it was just a enlargement of production.
Workers don’t negotiate within doors on secret dealings but they should convene at their own assembly – without tutorage of unions. Their place should have at it all workers, with contract/employed through human sources agencies, union members/non-union, from ČR/Poland/Slovakia, from shop floors/offices, because the power rests in numbers and self-organisation when workers decide how to lead struggle not their union “representatives”.
Škoda is in the situation when workers can use the weak points of capital for direct coercion: and that’s the way it is – demands are not pushed through “collective bargaining” around the table but by collective struggle.
Employer can understand just collective force of workers – who can stop the production and creation of profit. Objective situation plays into workers‘ hands. It is also a real fact.
12. February 2007,
Kolektivně proti kapitálu (Collectively Against Capital)