STRIKES and protest marches are taking place at Airbus plants in France and Germany for a third day after it was announced that over 10,000 workers will be sacked.
On Thursday there were wildcat strikes at Nordenham and at plants all over France, while up to 2,000 workers stopped work at the Laupheim plant in southern Germany, after the company revealed that it was considering selling off the entire site.
The French Force Ouvriere trade union and the CGT trade union federation has announced that there will be a half day national strike throughout France today.
Already workers are saying that at the least they will turn this into a 24-hour general strike.
However, the bureaucrats of the European Metal Workers Federation were completely out of step with the actions of the rank and file workers.
This body announced that there was ‘no concerted strike action taking place’, and that ‘this body would only consider its response after a meeting with the Airbus management on March 5.’
The EMF spokesman said ‘Any strikes or stoppages taking place are local and spontaneous actions.’
However trade unions across Europe have urged workers to stand shoulder to shoulder in France, Germany and also in the UK where 1,600 workers are due to be sacked.
The site at Laupheim is not the only one that could be sold. the French St Nazaire factory, employing 3,000 is also up for sale, while Airbus says that it is seeking new investors for three more sites including the Filton site in the UK.
Airbus says that the ‘restructuring’ is necessary because of the dire weakness of the US dollar and the setbacks to the building of the A380 superjumbo, which has seen its rival Boeing get well ahead.
Airbus wants to make big changes to production as well as achieve the 10,000 target for mass sackings.
Airbus also said it wanted to find a partner to help share development costs at its Filton and other European plants, and had already received some offers.
The UK trade union Amicus said it was extremely disappointed by the job cuts, but added that the company ‘has given its assurance that it will work with the trade unions to ensure that there will be no compulsory redundancies’.
However, the Airbus president Louis Gallois is on record as saying that the company needed to face up to the reality that its business was in need of significant and far-reaching change.
He added that the core problem damaging Airbus’ competitiveness was the weakness of the US dollar. As well, Airbus needed to finance the development and production of its new A350 plane and needed to find huge amounts of money to finance its operations.
However, the situation is that the crisis of the dollar and the crisis of the capitalist system is set to worsen chronically.
With ever escalating fuel prices and the all out competition between Boeing and Airbus to put each other out of business, the Super Jumbo project could well prove to be a giant pink elephant, an illusion that will break Airbus.
It is in this situation that the workers of Britain and France and Germany must stand together and not allow themselves to be split and weakened.
This means that the trade unions must take indefinite strike action and occupy all of the Airbus plants and call for the support of the entire European trade union movement.
Instead of the company being sold off and asset stripped it must be nationalised and put under workers control in all three countries.
The only answer to the massive threat to millions of jobs coming from the deepening crisis of capitalism is to nationalise threatened industries, and to move forward to a socialist solution, that is to expropriate the bosses and replace capitalism with the Socialist United States of Europe.