Ford workers: Time for unity not lambasting!
Ford workers have issued a call to all metal workers falling under the Employers' Association of Metal Industries, “The bosses all act in unison. We are left with no other choice apart from struggling in unison.”
Metal workers (Photograph: Onur Yurtsever)
A Group of Ford Otosan Workers
A new collective agreement is upon us. We look at Evrensel and many workers are up in arms, and for good reason. Who on earth is happy with this draft? Pevrul Kavlak said in his interview in Vardiya newspaper, “Workers said this was my draft.” We have never heard this from the colleagues around us. It seems just those who set out the draft are happy. The draft he said he was going to draw up with Turkish Metal workers consists of questions he himself prepared and points he also laid down himself, then he gives an interview saying, “I created the draft with the workers” and “The workers are happy and say this is our draft.” Which process of the agreement were we or will we be included in? Turkish Metal, which even said we’d stage a go-slow during the last agreement, operated one line while another was shut. Pevrul Kavlak and his sidekicks’ deeds do not go beyond for-show actions. Mr Kavlak says, “There are no red lines at the agreement table.”
However, it is incorrect here just to get angry at and lambast trade unionists because if we workers ask nothing of the union which stands on its feet with our labour and our subscriptions, do not struggle and do not force the union into certain courses of action, they will then make ever so cosy speeches. And we will wait around saying, “They sat down with 26% but will leave the table with 15%.” For example, a colleague from the MAN bus factory who gave an opinion about the draft to Evrensel said, “A union that sits at the table with the twenties per cent agrees on seven or eight per cent.” If we stand by and watch this situation, this of course is how it will be. We see everyone is complaining but nobody knows what’s to be done or everyone has retired to their corner and says let’s watch what happens. But we know that every agreement and every decision that we have not been involved in until now has been in favour of the boss. So, what should we do? Actually, in writing this letter, we wanted to discuss this question in unison, the question of “what should we do?” in unison and find the answer in unison. After all, they say that two heads are better than one. If we engage in joint discussion, we can get out of the negative setting we find ourselves in through cooperation.
We, as a group of Ford Otosan workers, have our proposals as to our way out. We think workers at companies that are included in the agreement should form committees and act jointly with other company committees. We did this in the 2015 metal resistance. There were committees at every business unit where resistance emerged. At that time, we elected them together as workers. Maybe now we have no opportunity to hold elections in a free environment but we can start with our trusted colleagues in our midst. We’ll set up committees with them because we think metal workers must get involved in unison. We have seen from past years that we will get nothing by placing trust in trade unionists. We must not permit them to turn this agreement into a fait accompli by remaining spectators.
Crisis is always in working circles; for which boss is there a crisis? They are knocking at the state’s door speaking of having been hit by crisis. They get aid from the state and father state gets the aid money it gives the bosses from us by raising taxes. Life is getting more expensive and taxes are on the up, and we remain spectators. Sacrifice, sacrifice – this is what is forever expected of us. So, when are the bosses to make some sacrifice? Given that none of us is happy, it is now time to do something. Perhaps we do not know how we are to come together. This is precisely why we say let Evrensel be the means for us to discuss with one another, to find a road together and convey our acquired wisdom to one another. For example, one of our colleagues from the Renault factory said in an interview he gave, “If there’s a low raise, we’ll slow down production and ask for an extra raise from Renault management external to the draft.” We also agree with this demand. Our factory proclaims itself to be the export champion every year. Well, what do we get as a share of this profit? A huge nothing. But we know that if only Renault or Ford workers get raises the metal workers’ problem will not be solved. We also know that if there is no unity among metal workers and they are divided, neither Ford workers will gain nor Renault workers. If we unify, if we act in unison, we will be strong and will win. So, come and let’s lay down our red lines together. Just like we did in the resistance period; MAN, TOFAŞ, Renault, Ford... That is, let us unify our demands as workers in Employers' Association of Metal Industries’ workplaces. This is what we think and we await a reply from you. Let every one of our worker colleagues enter their thoughts and ideas here. Let us act in unison and take unified decisions because the bosses all act in unison. We are left with no other choice apart from struggling in unison. Greetings to all of you from Ford. We will vanquish through unifying.