Argentina: Lear Roadblocks Face Violent Eviction by Gendarmerie
June 8 2014 Buenos Aires: Today was a national day of solidarity with the struggle of Lear workers with roadblocks in roads and highways in various parts of the country. Actions were held in Cordoba, Mendoza, Neuquen, Tucuman, Rosario and Jujuy. The most important roadblocks were in Puente Pueyrredon connecting the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires, and especially the roadblock on the Panamericana highway which links all of the northern suburbs of Buenos Aires with the city. Protesters blocking the Panamericana highway faced a violent repression by the Argentine gendarmerie.
The Lear factory is located at kilometer 31 of the Panamericana highway and this is where the first roadblock began at 5 in the morning today. Since there was a large police presence, a group of about 500 people, including workers from other factories in the northern zone such as Kraft, Pepsico and Donnelley together with college students, leftist parties and human rights organizations went about 4 km ahead to kilometer 35 where the Ford factory is located. It was there that they succeeded in executing a total block of the highway for 30 minutes until the gendarmerie arrived and ordered the eviction. After about 10 minutes the repression began. The police attacked with rubber bullets, tear gas and a water cannon.
Just before the repression human rights attorney, Carlos Platkowsky and Victoria Moyano moved to the front of the protest line to try and stop the repression.
Victoria Moyano is one of the children of los desaparecidos. Her parents were kidnapped and killed in 1977 during the dictatorship. Victoria’s mother was 4 months pregnant with her when she was disappeared by the junta and Victoria was given to a foster family at birth. Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo reunited her with her biological grandparents in 1987. Today she faced off with the same brutal security forces that killed her family.
In total there were 5 arrests who are still at the police station but scheduled to be released in a few hours, plus 1 more was arrested during a march that happened midday in the capital who has already been released. There were 20 wounded, the most severe was Carlos Platkowsky who luckily only needed a few stitches. All other injuries were from rubber bullets.
hroughout the day many organizations expressed solidarity and the conflict was broadcast nationally in Argentina. Say NO to Lear Corporation’s War against Argentine workers have started an email campaign repudiating the layoffs and attacks of Lear workers.
If you would like to participate, please copy the below text, paste in an email and send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We condemn the dismissals, layoffs and attacks on Lear delegates!
At the end of May, the multinational Lear Corporation laid off 330 workers from its Pacheco plant in Buenos Aires Province for an indefinite period, without even initiating the bankruptcy proceedings as required by law.
The workers refused to accept the situation and organized assemblies and road blockades. As a result, the Minister of Labor issued a ruling confirming that the suspensions were illegal.
However, in spite of this, the company deepened its attack, suspending 200 of the 330 without pay for 30 days. A few days later, 100 of the 200 were fired without severance pay, leaving them without the means to care for their families or meet their basic needs. This represents an attack on their and their families’ fundamental human rights.
Lear Corporation is an American company with over 122,000 employees at 226 locations in 36 countries. The only buyer of the electrical cable bundles that Lear produces at its Pacheco plant is Ford Argentina, whose production has remained at the same level over the last year. However, Ford is now importing a proportion of the cables it normally buys from Lear from Central America and Europe. Meanwhile, the plant in Pacheco is seeing firings and lay-offs. The actions of Lear and Ford are particularly unprincipled because the Argentine government is giving subsidies to the car industry and has just launched a plan called Pro.Cre.Auto to stimulate car sales, which of course will benefit both companies.
Lear is refusing to pay the salaries of 200 workers and claims that it is in financial crisis when in 2013 alone its total global sales were $16.2 billion.
The shop stewards’ committee has been banned from entering the Pacheco plant, leaving the workers without trade union representation and infringing their fundamental labour rights.
We, the undersigned, condemn the actions of Lear Corporation, a monopoly with a turnover of billions of dollars that has condemned 200 workers and their families to impoverishment. We demand that it obey national labor legislation and international treaties on human rights, and revoke the suspensions and layoffs so that all the workers can return to work.
Say NO to Lear Corporation’s War against Argentine workers
Partido de los Trabajadores Socialistas http://pts.org.ar/