International Attacks on Workers Require an International Response!

As the tendency for the rate of profit to fall exerts itself, the ruling class is forced to prop up their profits at the expense of the working class, by extending the working day, putting downward pressure on wages and generally reorganising production to get more from fewer workers.

What is true of the bourgeoisie in general, is also true of the German bourgeoisie. And, at least in the short-term, the German bourgeoisie has succeeded. According to figures from the Bundesbank, published in the Financial Times (5th December 2006), over the last six or seven years, the mass of profit has gone up by between 25 and 30% while the mass of wages has increased by barely 5%.

In a further twist of this policy, Volkswagen bosses decided to shift production of the Golf car from Brussels to German factories, endangering 4000 jobs in Brussels and threatening Volkswagen jobs elsewhere in Europe.

In this situation, our comrades in the Gruppe Internationaler SozialistInnen (GIS, which is the German group closest to the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party) put out the leaflet reproduced below in German and French versions.

The workers responded to the attacks on them by striking and occupying on their own initiative, and the unions then succeeded in selling the redundancy pay offered by the bosses to workers, after seven weeks of action. The bosses also verbally promised to produce a new Audi model in 2009, but with a reduced workforce. The unions also threatened that, if the deal was not accepted, the workers would end up with nothing.

Nevertheless, a strong minority of 46% was in favour of continuing the action. In addition, our German comrades report that there was solidarity for the Belgian workers among the German workers at Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant, even though the workers were unsure how to give this solidarity a practical form. The unions, on the other hand, expressly refused to work for action at any of the seven German VW plants.

As we go to press, we have heard that the Brussels plant is again on strike (from 24th January), with the demand that the promise about the new Audi model be given in writing.

Our German-speaking readers can see how a similar strike, at Bosch-Siemens-Hausgeräte in Berlin developed by challenging the union framework, by requesting Sozialismus oder Barbarei from the GIS address on the next page.

Revolutionary Perspectives

Journal of the Communist Workers’ Organisation -- Why not subscribe to get the articles whilst they are still current and help the struggle for a society free from exploitation, war and misery? Joint subscriptions to Revolutionary Perspectives (3 issues) and Aurora (our agitational bulletin - 4 issues) are £15 in the UK, €24 in Europe and $30 in the rest of the World.