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  • Some 75,000 collateral workers would have been affected by the strike according to economists' calculations.

    Some 75,000 collateral workers would have been affected by the strike according to economists' calculations. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 October 2019

According to data from the U.S. Rigual Equipment Provider Association, 100 companies that supply General Motors have had to stop their operations, leaving some 12,000 people without pay. In total, some 75,000 collateral workers would have been affected by the strike according to economists' calculations.

United Auto Workers (UAW) and General Motors restarted the negotiations to sign a new collective agreement after the union presented a counter-proposal Friday to the offer made by the auto company.

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The UAW confirmed that it will increase the weekly payments it makes to striking workers from US$250 to 275 as they have not received their salaries for 28 days.  "UAW members and their families are sacrificing" for the workers President of the union Gary Jones said.

"This decision reflects UAW's commitment and solidarity with all our affiliates and their families who have made the courageous decision to protect the way of life of the middle class," Jones added.

But payments of US$275 a week are only a fraction of what a General Motor employee usually earns, so many are having to look for other jobs while the strike lasts or are being forced to sell their homes to survive.

The measure to increase the payments that UAW makes to its affiliates on strike, on the one hand, indicates to the company that the union is willing to maintain the halt of 33 production plants and 22 distribution centers of the company in the United States. But it also shows the impact on the strikers, the first one since 2007.

The strike, the longest in decades, began on September 16 after two months in which the UAW and the company negotiated unsuccessfully the signing of a new collective agreement. A recent study showed that every week of strike the American monopoly loses over US$500 million.

Employees claim that, after years of sacrifice to refloat the company after the great crisis of 2008 and a decade of multi-million dollar benefits for General Motors, the company should increase wages and health benefits as well as stop transferring production to Mexico.

In its latest offer to the UAW, the American firm offered to invest US$9 billion in the U.S. in the next few years, US$2 billion more than initially announced, salary improvements and measures for temporary employees to become permanent workers. However, the positions between General Motors and its workers seem more distant than ever.

The consequences of the strike have also reached several branch offices in Mexico and Canada, that have had to cease operations last week because of the lack of spare parts. The company have sent to their homes thousands of workers from both countries, also without payments.

According to data from the U.S. Original Equipment Suppliers Association, 100 companies that supply GM have had to stop their operations, leaving some 12,000 people without pay. In total, some 75,000 collateral workers would have been affected by the strike according to economists' calculations.

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