Photo credit: John Harrelson / Archives / AFP
Goodyear is one of the three richest groups in the sector, including the American tire giant, Bridgestone and Michelin. The group has been leading the sector in terms of profits for many years, with a turnover of more than .5 17.5 billion and a profit of 4 764 million for the group in 2021. The start of 2022 is even more prosperous, the first quarter of 2022 where sales reached 4.9 billion, an increase of 40% in one year.
On the other hand, the reality of the group’s employees is quite different and they have had difficulty meeting their ends due to price increases. Frederick Bellhome, a CGT union representative from the Montlucon site, also said:
In this context, after sharing a profit of 400 euros last May, when the site management offered a bonus of 16 euros, the workers decided to go on strike. Asked by us, Frederick Bellhome explained: “Since the NAO of 2022, purchasing power has been questioned in the context of inflation. Again the last meeting brought us nothing, on the contrary, the management went back to its promise of a 400 euro bonus, which was the first in 20 years because the management living in Luxembourg never offered a bonus due to taxes. , Finally make us an offer for 16 euros. This announcement was sparked, it is worse than what we know in the economic context.
Assembled at a general meeting, the employees therefore decided on the one hand to donate their 16 euro bonus to an association – so more than 4000 euros have already been raised for the benefit of sick or hospitalized children in Montlucon and its environs – and the day after the CSE-C meeting to protest management insults. Go on indefinite strike on 6 July.
It is the lack of management consideration that forces workers to go on strike and join the movement, Frederick Bellhome explains. Since Thursday, July 7, the strikes and walkouts have been specifically followed: “We went on strike after discussions with the central and other unions on CFDT sites, we decided to call a coordinated strike on both sites, and we were surprised by the participation, even by collaborators who support us.” We have about 70% of the strikers since Thursday.The rates have remained significant on Friday and this weekend and it continues on Monday.There are some employees who stop working for one hour at the end of shift, others stop working for two hours or even 8 hours .
The strike lasted from the start of the company’s two sites, in the Rio de Janeiro area of Pui-de-Dome, where there were about 100 employees, and in Montlucon, Alier, where it was with about 600 temporary workers who decided to shut down. Tire production: “We are on strike because it is a scandal. In 2021, Goodyear France’s headquarters in La Defense, Montlucon site and Riom received 13.8 million in participation. We have been offered 16 euros … We will be able to live better later. Ready to lose. “
Goodyear’s strike echoed multiple strikes that began to emerge. This wave of strikes over aviation, energy or even services and mass distribution shows that the question of wages is central to workers and that it creates a vital necessity when inflation is running high. While the government, employers and the mainstream media “try to make it impossible to raise wages without raising inflation because of the price-wage loop”, executives in many sectors are accumulating profits, as has happened here in Goodyear. A year 2021 that will actually be particularly fruitful. In fact, if prices rise, it is because employers try to benefit from times of significant economic turmoil to keep workers on their backs by increasing their margins and their prices.
Although many economists believe that inflation could reach 7% quickly and make it more difficult for workers to make ends meet in the face of rising costs, employers’ record profits show that there is money to be made. But for its part, employers and the government, who are only trying to quell an uproar over the question of wages, have simply distributed a piece here or there, a bonus or a 3% increase. But even these few bonuses or increases are available due to strikes and pressure from organized workers. It shows that indeed workers can expect a favorable outcome through a balance of power and struggle.
But in order to go further than small growth that does not even match the level of inflation, there is an urgent need to adopt a real single war plan around wages that will be able to coordinate numerous sectoral strikes, which can sometimes manifest. A strong fundamentalism. This strategy is needed to index wages on inflation, to freeze the prices of basic necessities, as well as to connect different sectors for a general increase in wages.