Workers at a General Motors auto assembly facility in Brazil returned to work after a six-day standoff with the company after the latter decided to end plans to ay off 800 employees, according to the local union.
The latest labor issue in the troubled Brazilian auto industry had the metalworkers union of Sao Jose dos Campos end the protest on Thursday, the same day they also held re-elections for its leadership. The previous officials retained their positions by a three-to-one margin, showing Brazilian workers are increasingly favorable to such confrontational union tactics that have surged all across the country. The re-elected leadership believed the reputation gained over the years and their ongoing criticism of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff was decisive to win the favor of the members. A larger national union that had consistent ties with the ruling party backed their opponents. The labor walkout at GM follows similar protests against the local unit of Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, with workers criticizing new pay cuts after 7 percent of them were fired across the industry in 2014.
GM and the union agreed on a compromise deal that would see 650 workers on furlough for five months, with guaranteed return to work after, according to the metalworkers’ union of Sao Jose dos Campos, which is very close to Sao Paulo. The employees ceased operations at the plant last week to protest against the planned strategy to furlough almost 800 of them for two months and lay them off in April. The largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world has already cut the workforce at the factory from 7,500 in 2012 to around 5,200 today.