Note from LeftEast editors: We share a brief article about a strike at the automotive supplier plant in Beluša, Slovakia. The article was originally published on the Karmina.red blog on September 13, 2021, in Slovak and English. This brief article also contains the links where you can dowload the informative pamphlet outlining the background story of the strike: We Have to Stick Together: The Story of the Strike at Booster Precision Components, in both languages.
In June 2021, a five-day strike took place at the German-owned Booster Precision Components factory in Beluša (Považie region, western Slovakia), which produces components for car turbochargers. The workers were defending themselves against wage cuts and other measures that the company began to implement in 2020, citing the difficult situation caused by the pandemic.
The strike had virtually universal support in the plant, and left the company paralyzed. Thanks to a blockade by picketing workers, the management was unable to export stocks of manufactured goods, or to stockpile components needed for assembly. The work stoppage eventually led to every one of the strikers’ demands being met, either in full or at least to a degree that far exceeded management’s original offers. In addition, the strike had several other important aspects:
- up to two-thirds of the company’s employees are women;
- the plant is a tier 2 supplier for the automotive industry and forms part of global value chains in this key sector of Slovakia’s export-oriented economy;
- in addition to a few dozen agency workers, the factory employs about 220 people, mostly from the same region, who form a relatively stable collective;
- production of the plant is based on relatively highly skilled work with CNC machines;
- the factory is owned by a medium-sized investment fund based in Germany, which has high hopes for its involvement in this sector, managing the concern with aggressiveness typical of private equity firms,
- in addition to wages, worker discontent was (and still is) related to two other key issues — workplace safety and management’s attitude.
We take a closer look at the strike in our 2021 pamphlet, We Have to Stick Together: The Story of the Strike at Booster Precision Components.
- a chronology of events from the beginning of the pandemic to the strike;
- history and international context of the Beluša factory;
- production process and workforce composition;
- the boss’s strategy and worker response;
- the course of the strike and its results;
- strengths and weaknesses of the strike;
- what lessons should we draw?
Karmína is a blog that looks at the world from the perspective of workers, their living conditions, needs and everyday
struggles. In these, it seeks the germs of a future global
movement that could shake the world. Karmína criticizes
all artificial divisions – those of gender, race or nation – that
partition the working class, and seeks ways of breaking
through them practically.
Karmína is run by a small editorial collective that subscribes
to the tradition of collective authorship and independent
organizing without the help of well-meaning politicians, allknowing experts, and proponents of social peace.
Karmína publishes on the web (karmina.red), on Facebooku (Karmína), and Instagram (@karmina.red).