Ford factory workers in Brazil Ford factory workers pledge to defend labour rights. Photo: João Cayres

Workers at the Ford factory in São Paulo, Brazil have pledged to resist the coup and to fight in defence of labour rights

The decision was voted at meetings held on Tuesday morning, March 22. The plant employs 4,000 people.

Union leaders discussed with the workers the risks of breaking the institutional order if Dilma were forced out of office without evidence of having committed a crime. It was acknowledged that Lula continues to be persecuted by the judicial power – also without evidence.

“The coup is already happening,” said the secretary general of the CUT-SP, João Cayres. ”If they succeed, the next step will be to attack our labour and human rights,” he added.

Cayres recalled that are already in the National Congress projects, among others, that aim to generalise outsourcing in the labour market, and that representatives of the opposition have been systematically advocating the reduction of the minimum wage and the introduction of flexible labour laws. With the coup, the path of achieving these objectives would be free, argued Cayres.

“We run the risk of ‘Mexicanization’ of our production,” warned the official, referring to the process in Mexico, where the multinationals have turned workers into mere cogs in the production line, resulting in a brutal lowering of wages in relation to Brazil. This was due to uncritical alignment of Mexico to US foreign policy.

The president of the Union, Rafael Marques, also spoke about Lula’s situation. ”He did not want to accept the invitation to become a minister, because he thought it would look like he was afraid of any legal action. But he’s not afraid. We, in the trade union, were the ones who insisted that he become minister. Our former president is widely respected in all sectors of society and can contribute a lot to the political articulation and make the government regain the initiative.”

At the end of the meeting, the following resolution was put forward: “Do you want to fight against the coup and in defence of labour rights?” The answer came in the form of thousands of upraised hands and voices in unison. From tomorrow, there will be meetings like this in all the factories of the rank and file of the trade union.