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Fiat Chrysler and CNHi must increase dialogue with unions

The annual FCA/CNHi global union network meeting on 8 and 9 July in Toronto, brought together 38 trade unionists in nine countries. FCA and CNHi’s 24 brands include Alfa Romeo, Case, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Maserati, New Holland and iron and castings supplier, Teksid.

The current transformation of the automotive industry is a huge challenge that will affect the future of auto companies and workers. The network shared the view that FCA has a responsibility to safeguard jobs and plants through forward looking investments. However, instead of strengthening dialogue, the company tends to ignore the expertise of trade unions and workers. Participants called on FCA to develop a comprehensive strategy based on close cooperation with trade unions and supported by governments, in particular when it comes to fundamental issues such as a possible merger with another OEM (e.g. Renault).

The network committed to taking immediate action to support colleagues at Teksid Hierro in Mexico. After a five-year campaign, IndustriALL affiliate, Los Mineros (SNTMMSSRM), won a trade union election at the Teksid plant in 2018 with a clear majority. Nevertheless, the company refuses to recognize the result and maintains a collective agreement with the defeated CTM union.

In April 2019, Teksid Hierro dismissed 123 workers who protested the company’s behaviour, including the entire plant leadership team of Los Mineros. The network has vowed to continue solidarity support until the company reinstates the dismissed workers and recognizes Los Mineros as the democratically elected bargaining partner.

The network resolved to approach FCA and CNHi on the importance of core ILO labour conventions in upholding basic social and trade union rights in a globalized economy, especially in relation to supply chains. In this context, it will propose to enter into negotiations for a global framework agreement with both FCA and CNHi.

Participants agreed to increase the exchange of information in the network, in particular by contributing to the database and by making active use of it. The network also agreed clear rules on the representation of women and younger generations in the network.

On the second day of the meeting, participants visited the Brampton Assembly plant where they met the Director of HR, FCA Canada, providing an example of how good relations with the North American management could work with the entire Group.

IndustriALL’s director for the auto sector, Georg Leutert, said:

“Fiat is the only European automotive company without a global forum providing for regular and information and consul between the company and trade unions. We urge the company to end this unsustainable position and to enter into dialogue.”

The group particularly thanked Canadian affiliate, Unifor, for hosting the meeting.

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