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Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 14:03:29 -0600 (CST)
From: Michael Eisenscher <meisenscher@igc.org>
Subject: Ford to Close Worker-Occupied Brazilian Plant
Article: 52421
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <bulk.18278.19990119121631@chumbly.math.missouri.edu>

Ford to Shut Down Brazilian Factory

Associated Press, Sunday 17 January 1999; 4:44 p.m. EST

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) -- Unable to operate its plant with nearly 3,000 dismissed workers inside, the Brazilian subsidiary of Ford Motor Co. will shut down its factory until Feb.1, local media reported Sunday.

Ford said in a statement the decision was made because of the technical impossibility of resuming its operation with the daily presence of dismissed workers inside its installations.

Another roughly 4,000 workers who were not fired were given paid leave, said the statement, distributed by Agencia Folha.

For nearly two weeks, 2,800 Ford workers have been ignoring their pink slips, showing up every day for work in an effort to force the company to reconsider their dismissal.

Ford has said the best it could do is reconsider 300 dismissals -- mostly of those workers close to retirement age -- and grant an unspecified increase in severance pay.

The Metalworkers Union in Sao Bernardo do Campo, the Sao Paulo industrial suburb where Ford's plant is located, said Ford's proposal was unacceptable.

Production at Ford has been stopped since Dec. 21, when year-end vacations began. It was supposed to resume on Jan. 4, but because of the job action the company refused to activate the assembly line.

The union is trying to force Ford to consider other alternatives to the dismissals such as a shorter work week, wage cuts and lower production costs.

The company announced the dismissals on Dec. 18, saying they were necessary because of a drop in demand.

Brazil's auto industry has seen sales plummet since the first effects of financial turmoil in Asia reached the country.