NIZHNIJ NOVGOROD - 12/03/2019 (PRDistribution.com)
US Treasury arbitrarily and unjustly sanctioned GAZ in April 2018
40,000 jobs are at stake as a result of the sanctions, with more than 400,000 people affected in total
Deadline to lift sanctions is 31 March 2020
Ten workers from historic Russian carmaker GAZ are driving GAZelle NEXT vehicles more than 4,000 km from Nizhny Novgorod to Germany as part of the international #SaveGAZ automobile rally to highlight the plight of industry workers worldwide as a result of unfair and arbitrary US sanctions.
Organised by the GAZ Workers’ Council, the rally is running from GAZ’s home town through Belarus, Poland, Czechia and Austria en route to the German town of Düren, where the IndustriAll Global Union’s Automotive Working Group is due to meet on 9-11 December.
The route of the #SaveGAZ rally takes in towns and cities where GAZ partners have their operations to highlight the impact on European economies of the US sanctions. Key cities being visited include Vienna (3-5 December), Graz (5 December), Ingolstadt (7 December), Stuttgart (8 December) and Cologne (9 December).
“GAZ today has no real prospects as a result of the shameful and unjust decision to impose sanctions. We cannot grow, we have had to suspend numerous international joint projects, and we are facing painful financial problems,” GAZ Trade Union Chairman Sergei Solodov said.
“If the US Treasury doesn’t lift these sanctions, our factories could shut down overnight. GAZ workers are carrying on without knowing whether they will have a job and be able to feed their children tomorrow. Sanctions jeopardise 40,000 highly skilled jobs, and more than 400,000 people and their families are affected directly and indirectly,” Sergei Solodov said
GAZ has a long history of close collaboration with international partners. Established as the Gorky Automobile Plant, it was built in partnership with Henry Ford, one of the founding fathers of the modern car industry. In recent years GAZ has partnered with General Motors and Chrysler, and also set up assembly lines for Volkswagen and Daimler. Sergei Solodov will highlight the devastating impact of US sanctions on carmaking sector workers and related industries to global trade union leadersat the IndustriAll Global Union meeting.
Evgeny Morozov, Chairman of the GAZ Group Workers’ Council, said:
“The impact of sanctions is reverberating across the entire automotive industry. All our European partners want to continue working with us, but sanctions mean they are unable to plan any projects. Political disagreements should not destroy long-established and strong economic relationships and take the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people hostage.”
GAZ was sanctioned in April 2018 by the US Treasury, which has since postponed any decision on lifting the sanctions on several occasions, most recently extending the deadline to 31 March 2020.
Information for editors
GAZ workers have been actively campaigning to save their plant. This year they have taken to the streets in front of the US Embassy and the US Ambassador's residence in Moscow to appeal to the US Government to lift sanctions imposed on GAZ workers. (See video here: https://youtu.be/kSytQj1H7vY)
Since April 2019 #SaveGAZ flash mobs have been arranged via social media to bring together people who care about GAZ’s future.
The Automobile and Agricultural Machinery Workers' Union of the Russian Federation addressed IndustriALL Global Union in support of GAZ workers: http://www.industriall-union.org/russian-auto-workers-union-oppose-sanctions.
Young workers of Yaroslavl Motor Pant, part of GAZ Group, filmed a rap video to protest against the sanctions: https://youtu.be/IRK0mibI_Dc
Photos of the start of the rally are available here: https://wetransfer.com/downloads/02d09a8b3a909203edfec027bd0c862520191129092304/0b0ffa193612374ca5064c401fd0475b20191129092304/5787b0