Following a 13-day strike and an unfavorable decision by a labor court, GM has canceled 1,245 layoffs at its GM São José dos Campos plant, São Caetano do Sul factory, and Mogi das Cruzes plant in Brazil.
The cancelations are characterized as a “historic victory” by the Sindicato dos Metalurgicos labor union, according to an article by Reuters describing the current situation.
GM said it made the layoffs to preserve “operational agility,” though it failed to negotiate with the union beforehand in accordance with local labor agreements. Instead, The General is said to have announced the layoffs via emails and telegrams sent out on a weekend. One of the local unions claims a June agreement signed by GM guarantees job stability for its Brazilian factory workers until May 2024.
As a result, workers at the three plants went on strike, demanding that GM reverse the layoffs. Besides the signed agreement, the metalworkers union also claims the action violates the law, remarking “GM failed to comply with legislation that requires companies to open negotiations with the category’s union before carrying out mass layoffs.”
Meanwhile, the UAW then on the cusp of winning a highly favorable contract from The General in the form of the UAW-GM National Agreement, expressed its support for and solidarity with the striking Brazilian unions. UAW president Shawn Fain sent an email to his counterparts in Brazil, claiming his own union “is all too familiar with GM’s habit of not honoring agreements and breaking labor laws!”
The UAW also expressed a hope the president of Brazil will “issue a provisional measure establishing employment stability and reducing daily working hours without wage reduction,” though whether this will actually happen remains unknown at this point.
GM sought an injunction from the Brazilian labor court upholding its decision to lay off a significant portion of its 4,000 plant workers. The court declined to provide the injunction, leading to the automaker’s current acceptance of the unions’ demands.