Bailing out banks and sacking public sector workers splits the unions

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THE UNISON and Unite trade unions have split.

The former has formed an alliance with the EU public sector trade unions ver.di and CGIL and a number of other EU public sector trade unions.

The latter is forming an alliance with the bosses and the government.

UNISON declared on the eve of last Saturday’s ‘March for Jobs and Justice’, ‘The big 3 European Public Sector unions – UNISON, the Italian union CGIL and German union ver.di – are forming an historic alliance to lead the fight against European Governments handing over billions of pounds to failed banks and big business, whilst planning cuts in public services.’

Dave Prentis said yesterday: ‘We have joined forces to bring millions of workers together in a campaign for change. Now is the time to challenge those calling for cuts to pay, pensions and services.’

At the same time, the other UK ‘super union’, Unite, was declaring its absolutely opposite position.

Today, Unite’s co-leaders Woodley and Simpson are holding a joint press conference with the ex-CBI boss Sir Digby Jones, a Tory who served as Brown’s Industry Minister, Paul Everitt, CEO of the Society of Motor Manufacturers, Professor David Bailey, Director of Birmingham Business School, University of Birmingham, and Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham. Unite explains that the object of the press conference is ‘to press the case for a jobs strategy with manufacturing placed firmly at the heart of a national programme to propel the UK out of recession.’

This body is able to come together because Unite’s policy is to support the government’s bailing out of the banks and to tell workers that the only way to stand a chance of keeping the plants open is to accept redundancies, wage cuts and hours cuts.

As Tony Woodley said yesterday: ‘The Government acted boldly when it came to rescuing those banks brought to their knees by greed and misdeeds of a few.

‘Working people desperately need to see more of the same spirit when it comes to helping them keep their jobs. Every effort must be made to keep the lights on in factories and homes across the country.

Government must now grasp the hand of expert help being offered so we work together to take the right road out of recession.’

Simpson and Woodley have given millions of their union’s money to the Brown government, they have fully supported the bailing out of the banks, which have continued to sack and repossess thousands, including their own members, they have supported wage cuts and redundancies in the motor car and engineering industries and now they want to form a permanent alliance with the government and the bosses aimed at keeping capitalism going.

They have become servants of the employers and the government, and have given up defending the wages and jobs of their members.

They have also refused to call for the nationalisation of the motor car industry, engineering and steel industries where tens of thousands their members’ jobs have been lost, with many more now threatened. They know full well that nationalisation is the only way to defend jobs.

They also know that the hundreds of billions used to prop up the bankers have made the government desperate to recoup its losses by sacking hundreds of thousands of public sector workers and privatising the public sector.

UNISON, the major public sector trade union, can no longer afford to keep its eyes closed on this issue.

However the bosses and the bankers and their Brown government will not be defeated by words and alliances alone.

There must be action. There must be a one-day general strike of the public sector throughout Europe against the cuts, closures and privatisations that are taking place.

In the UK, UNISON must take the lead in organising a general strike to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government.