On October 15, Thursday, workers of the commercial vehicle manufacturing plant of MAN Truck & Bus Österreich AG (MTBÖ) in Steyr, Austria, went on a warning strike protesting the management’s decision to close the plant. The closure of the plant is likely to affect around 2,000 jobs. The workers of the plant, along with other workers in the region, organized a massive rally as part of the warning strike.
In September, the Volkswagen Group which owns MAN, announced the closure of the plant in Steyr as part of its restructuring measures in the truck, bus, military and commercial vehicle manufacturing sector. According to reports, such a move will likely affect 9,500 jobs in Austria, Germany and other countries, including over 2,000 alone in Steyr. Man is owned by Traton SE, which is a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.
Progressive sections in Austria, including the Party of Labor of Austria (PdA), have expressed solidarity with workers of MAN Steyr. In its statement on October 14, PdA said that the restructuring plan does not save the group from bankruptcy, but is a step towards profit maximization.
The Communist Youth of Austria (KJO) has also expressed solidarity with the Workers of the MAN Steyr and said that Volkswagen, which was generating billions in profits, had no problems in closing the plant while employees are being sacrificed at the altar of the free market.
Earlier in September, the Upper Austrian state spokesman of the Communist Party of Austria (KPO), Michael Schmida, stated that “in 2019, the automotive group — the truck manufacturer MAN which is part of the VW Group — which is mainly owned by the Porsche-Piech clan, made a profit of 19.3 billion Euros. In order to improve the result of the VW subsidiary by around 1.8 billion euros by 2023, they are closing down several pants in Germany, Austria etc and to cut more than 9,500 jobs”.
KPO spokesperson has also stated that “the Upper Austrian industrial policy completely overslept [during] the developments in the automotive industry and is now completely at the mercy of the disruptive restructuring of the industry. The active shaping of industry and economy through a socio-ecological transformation and good work instead of site closures [should now be] the order of the day”.