GM, Brazil workers reach deal to end strike

GMT 16:55 2015 Thursday ,26 February

Arab Today, arab today GM, Brazil workers reach deal to end strike

Thousands of workers at a General Motors
Sao Paulo - AFP

Some 5,200 workers at a General Motors plant in Brazil ended a nearly weeklong strike on Thursday after reaching a deal with management over threatened layoffs, union officials said.
The metalworkers union at the plant in Sao Jose dos Campos in southeastern Sao Paulo state said striking workers had laid down their tools to protest a cost-cutting plan that would have temporarily furloughed, then fired, some 800 plant workers.
After several bargaining sessions, "GM agreed to cancel the layoffs, which was our main grievance, and we agreed to end our strike," said Antonio Ferreira de Barros, a union leader.
Workers agreed to five-month-long paid furloughs for 650 workers beginning March 9, after which they would be reinstated for at least three months, he said.
"Upon their return to the factory, they'll be kept on for three months," the union leader said, adding that the time that the workers were on strike "will not be counted" against them.
GM officials could not immediately be reached by AFP.
The company's original plan, which would have affected 800 workers, envisioned two-month-long paid furloughs, followed by permanent layoffs.
GM will also pursue a buyout program to encourage as many workers as possible to leave voluntarily, as it continues to seek ways to improve its bottom line.
The Sao Jose dos Campos plant produces GM's S10 and Trailblazer models.
The agreement between GM management and labor comes with Brazil's auto market, the world's fifth largest, reeling from  months of poor growth and against a backdrop of general economic malaise in Latin America's biggest economy.
In 2010, the economy had rapid growth of 7.5 percent, fueled by high prices for commodities and natural resources. Since then however, growth has slowed dramatically as Chinese-led demand has fallen back.
The anemic auto sector last year saw a sales slide of 7.15 percent to 3.5 million units -- the sector's worst showing in five years.

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