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German workers disrupt all GM car production in Europe

Sam Hamerski | 16.10.2004 15:56

Unoffial industrial action at Opel car plant in Bochum, Germany will bring production in all General Motors car production in Europe to a standstill. GM threatens to sack 4000 of 10.000 car workers. Factory gates are being occupied since last thursday night shift. Families flock to gates to support strikers. On thursday 19th a European day of action is called for in all European GM plants. Last news: 1 pm ECT: ESF meeting sends solidarity greetings signed by 400. 5 pm ECT: GM is preparing for lockout, police sighted, millitants ask Bochum citizens for a "all out" to gather at gates.

protesters outside main gate
protesters outside main gate

By Monday or Tuesday car production in General Motors plants in a plant in Poland, Antwerp and Elsemere will come to a standstill. Angry workers at Opel car plant in Bochum, inside Germany´s industrial heartland - the Ruhr, brought production to a standstill.
5000 Workers have downed tools since Thursday afternoon - or are rallying around the car plant in Bochum. Industrial action started in protest at plans by parent company General Motors to slash some 4,000 jobs at the plant. Work continued without disruption so far at Opel's Ruesselsheim plant which is also earmarked by the US auto giant for the reduction of 4,000 jobs.
Militants in Russelsheim, Southern Germany, had been disciplined by their union earlier this summer, after a walk out which resulted in a motorway blocking. But the grip of the union on the work force seems to loosen. Union bureaucrats try to hold staff down. But tv crews described the mood of a whole region largely dependent on Opel car industries as sombre and angry.

This unauthorised wild cat action looks rock solid. Families and even children rush to the car plant and set up food stores, the money bucket is passed round. Even if industrial action should not spread beyond Bochum, this unofficial strike will bring production in GM car plants to a standstill from Poland right across Europe to Britain. Bochum produces essential parts for cars. The workers in the Ruhr have GM by their throat.

Management secretely began loading essential parts on lorries as soon as industrial action begann and hid them on the ground of one of Europe´s largest car plants. But the transports were spotted by the strikers just in time. "Nothing is getting out" - a militant was reported stating to a Bochum support group.
Already, production in Antwerp GM plant is said to have slowed down. Rumour has it that Antwerp workers plan solidarity action.

Nevertheless, acts of solidarity, particularly in Britain - now that the ESF is taking part - would be more than welcome. Unthinkable if - for many years since - car workers in Britain were to take action in solidarity for their German mates. Send solidarity adresses to:

Sam Hamerski


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thursday 19th is wrong: please give more info!

16.10.2004 16:17

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"thursday 19th"

Is the all-Europe strike planned for Tues 19th or Thurs 21st?

any URLs?


Some more pictures to ilustrate the situation

16.10.2004 16:51


Bochum Opel car plant
Bochum Opel car plant

main gates
main gates

some pictures made by a Bochum support group against social cuts (Bochum alternativ). Industrial action at GM Ople Bochum plant comes at a time when protest in most german towns against cuts in dole money have died down. The past 3 months had seen an unexpected and massive protest wave in East Germany - the Monday-demonstrations against the slashing of dole by next January. 1.000s will be either getting no money at all - and 100.000s will be forced to accept low payed "1- €uro/h-jobs". Protest didn´t spread to West Germany. Demos in the west only attracted a few hundred, whereas in the East thousands took to the streets in most cities. Now protest has died down almost completely. Trade unions, the Left and alterglobalists have pulled out of the protest. The coming days will show wether this spontanious and unexpected strike in Bochum against GM will spread to other plants, and wether it will fuel the unemployed protest-movement with new strength.


sorry, it´s TUESDAY, of course!

17.10.2004 10:07

It´s TUESDAY!!!!! 19th - but there is no info yet wether workers in other plants in Europe, from Poland to Britain, will follow the example.

solidarity greetings (any language will do) to:

information in German on

no info yet on labournet uk (


GM European subs Opel, Saab and Vauxhall will sack 12 000

17.10.2004 10:45

GM plans to cut down work force of it´s European subcompanies Opel, Saab and Vauxhall. Within next two years 12 000 or more of 60 000 will getv the sack.

Coming Tuesday, 19th of October, there will be a European day of action of all GM-workers.

European Opel car plants affected in production by unoff. indust. action in Bochum are:
- besides other Opel plants in Germany - are in Antwerp, Ellesmere and Gliwice (Poland)

wild cat strike costs GM 30 Million Euro a day! compare that to the cost of an average
g8 riot - and you know who holds the true power in it´s hand!

more urls:

shop-floor mag:

reporting (local maoist party - but information on strike correct):


GM Europe Works Council declares day of action for 19 October

17.10.2004 10:53

"GM Europe Works Council declares day of action for 19 October

Immediately following GM Europe chairman Fritz Henderson’s announcement of 12,000 planned job cuts yesterday morning, the afternoon shift at Opel’s Bochum plant was cut short and nightshift workers stayed stayed away from work, gathering outside the plant instead.

GM's central works council then declared next Tuesday as ‘European action day’, in which GM workers from Germany, Britain and Sweden will all be asked to participate. Klaus Franz, a representative from the Rüsselsheim plant said the works council will pursue five goals in forthcoming negotiations with GME, including no plant shutdowns and no layoffs. At a news conference yesterday, IG Metall threatened industrial action on a scale last seen at GM in 1998, when a several weeks-long strike at its Flint, Michigan plant, the most severe industrial action in the US in 30 years, halted production at 26 of GM’s 29 US production facilities."


realizing what´s at stake in Bochum

17.10.2004 11:36

beginnig to realize what´s at stake if jobs go
beginnig to realize what´s at stake if jobs go

many GM workers families with mortgages on their homes
many GM workers families with mortgages on their homes

"... The historic failure of American brands in Europe was ... with establishing Chevrolet
in the UK, Previously GM had tried to sell American cars to Europeans ... "

General Motors
... GM cars and trucks are sold under the following brands: Chevrolet, Pontiac, Buick,
Oldsmobile, Cadillac, GMC, Saturn, Hummer, Saab, Opel, Vauxhall and Holden. ...