Car industry collapses in UK and Europe under impact of capitalist crisis

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THE BRITISH car industry is steadily collapsing as a result of the world economic crisis, figures produced yesterday highlighted.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders UK car production fell by more than 10% year on year and has now fallen for 14 consecutive months, a fall longer than the 13-month decline between October 2008 and October 2009 – the year of the collapse of the world banking system.

Ten years on, and the situation in motor manufacturing is even worse, with car plants across the country closing down. In June, Ford announced the closure of its engine plant at Bridgend, throwing 1,700 workers out of a job next year as part of its massive international drive to cut costs.

In February, Honda announced the closure of its Swindon plant in 2021, while both Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover have announced huge cuts in their workforce. The French PSA Group has also threatened to end production of the Vauxhall Astra at Ellesmere Port in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

In fact, the collapse of car manufacturing industry in the UK long pre-dates Brexit – it is an international collapse in manufacturing.

Germany, the biggest exporter of cars in Europe, has seen vehicle sales fall by 4% last year, while in the first six months of this year they fell by a staggering 14%, leading to one economics minister warning  that ‘every second job’ in the German car industry is in the firing line.

With manufacturing output in Germany’s industrial sector falling rapidly, the EU’s largest economy has been plunged into recession.

This makes a reactionary nonsense of the trade union leaders who are planning to meet with Michael Gove, the Tory minister in charge of government planning for a no-deal Brexit, where, according to the Unite union, they will be asking what assurances the government can offer to foreign companies who own the British car industry.

These union leaders cling to the hope that remaining tied to a bankrupt EU will somehow offer a way out for them, a cover for their own refusal to fight for a single job in the car or all the other industries being smashed up by the world crisis of capitalism.

The bosses are not interested in assurances, only in maintaining their profits by mass sacking and trying to move production to low-wage economies, dumping their crisis firmly on the backs of the working class.

Far from the EU offering any salvation as the union leaders claim, the reality is that it is collapsing into bankruptcy and being torn apart by political crisis.

In Italy, the crisis has erupted with the break-up of the ruling coalition government between the right-wing League party and the populist Five Star Movement, both of which won support from Italian workers for their anti-EU and anti-austerity promises.

Last week, the League left the coalition in an attempt to force a general election which it hoped would win an outright majority for its policy of breaking with the eurozone and reintroducing the lira as a currency in an attempt to pay off the huge mountain of debt owed by the state to the banks.

To avoid an election, Five Star have now entered into a new coalition with the pro-EU Democratic Party which is dedicated to carrying out the demands of the EU banks to restore the vicious austerity imposed on Italian workers and youth.

This will lead to an uprising by the working class throughout Italy and poses a massive crisis in the very heart of the EU.

In Britain, the trade union leaders who refuse to fight must be removed and replaced with a new leadership that will mobilise the strength of the working class to bring down the Tory government and go forward to a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and bankers under a planned socialist economy.

This is the only way to defend jobs and it will win the support of workers throughout Europe who are engaged in the same fight to go forward to replace a bankrupt capitalist EU with the United Socialist States of Europe.

Come and join us in Brighton for the lobby of the TUC on Monday September 9th from 8am to demand the occupation of factories threatened with closure and the nationalisation of the entire car industry!