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The News Line: News OCCUPY TO DEFEND JOBS! says Vauxhall ex-convenor ‘I totally support the call to occupy GM Luton to defend jobs’, former Vauxhall Luton TGWU convenor, Arthur Lynn told News Line yesterday.

He was speaking as the German government, put off its decision on which bidder it would accept to take over GM Europe.

Whichever bidder pledges to keep Germany’s Opel plants open, it is commonly understood that the takeover will see GM move to close the UK Vauxhall plants in Luton and Ellesmere Port within days.

Lynn added: ‘Occupation should be followed by a mass meeting inside the factory to give the workers in the factory a chance to call for the nationalisation of the motor industry.

‘It will give those who want a new union leadership in the factory to come forward with their demand that the union cease its collaboration with the CBI, Digby Jones and big business.

‘Workers want the union to stop calling for wage cuts, loss of conditions and pension rights and everything else.

‘They want the union to lead the fight to nationalise the motor industry.

‘This will galvanise the workers in Ellesmere Port, and other suppliers who are affected and will also let people know that there is no other alternative.

‘Sacrificing workers’ living standards to save the bankers or the owners of the motor industry has not worked anywhere and it won’t work here.

‘It’s a bankrupt policy on the part of the union leaders who refuse to fight.

‘Occupation is also a chance for workers across Europe, like at GM Opel, to unite in a principled stand of nationalisation across borders which will lead to the fight for socialism.

‘Such a principled stand will prevent a split developing where all the workers across Europe and in Britain are left to fight each other, on the basis of nationalism.

‘Such a split would lead to the defeat of the working class.

‘We have to reject this “British jobs for British workers” or “German jobs for German workers”.

‘The All Trades Unions Alliance meeting is the right way forward.

‘It will bring people from the wider community into the fight, those not connected to the motor industry but who realise that nationalisation of the banks and manufacturing industry is the only way forward.

‘We have to fight for this position’, Lynn concluded.

Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley appealed for government cash to prop up GM.

He said: ‘We’re looking at the closure of one plant in the next two years and another plant with an uncertain future.’

He added: ‘It is no good having a bail out for the banks, those spivs and the speculators, if indeed they are not going to put money into preserving really important quality manufacturing jobs.

‘That is why Mr Mandelson, Lord Mandelson, should get off the phone, get on a plane, and start to back British manufacturing jobs.’

Unite quoted joint general secretary Derek Simpson as saying: ‘Thousands of jobs are at stake at Luton and Ellesmere Port. Once lost they won’t return, our manufacturing capability and the UK’s Research and Development base will be left hamstrung.

‘This is crunch time. It’s time for the UK government to be decisive and do everything humanly possible to protect Britain’s manufacturing base.’

The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Michael Ellam, told reporters yesterday: ‘While we have not been asked to participate in the bridging loan, we have not ruled out making a financial contribution to securing the future of Vauxhall as part of a long-term plan to stabilise the future of GM in Europe.’
 
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