Class struggle sharpens – Organise general strike!


900 construction workers were sacked at the Lindsey Oil Refinery, north Lincolnshire yesterday in what the GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny called ‘a case of mass victimisation’.

The sackings came after 1,200 workers walked out at the Lincolnshire plant in defence of jobs.

Workers are now walking out of power stations and oil refineries all over the country in response to this bosses’ provocation designed to crush the trade unions, so that cheap labour, non-union contractors can be brought in from all over the EU.

Naturally, Prime Minister Brown, the Labour leader who only serves the bankers, has condemned the workforce and not the employers’ provocations.

He said: ‘Unofficial strike action is never the right response to industrial relations problems’.

The continuing struggle of the highly skilled engineers who work in the refineries and power stations is taking place at the same time as BA has written a letter to all of its 40,000 workers suggesting that they start sacrificing to save the company from bankruptcy. They want workers to work for a month for nothing.

At the same time, BA is demanding wage cuts across the board, and 4,000 plus redundancies to make up a package of ‘cost cuts’ that are to be ‘permanent’.

As well, at GM Luton the management has admitted that the best way to cut down the number of redundancies that are to take place would be for the workers to accept a 50 per cent wage cut!

Workers at GM Luton have however seen what happened at the LDV van factory, where first of all there was a 10 per cent wage cut agreed by unions ‘to save jobs’. Then there was short-time working, and when a new buyer for the company did not materialise, the company was sent into administration in a day, and over 800 workers were sacked.

This experience has concentrated workers’ minds, especially when the co-leader of the Unite trade union, Woodley, commented that the union and the government had done everything that was possible to try to keep the company open.

This means that the closure of LDV was deemed by Woodley to be inevitable.

Workers in Luton wonder – since the Unite union leadership has not held a single mass meeting in the plant to explain to workers what is being done to defend their jobs – whether it has already been decided that the closure of GM Luton is inevitable, as well.

Already the Unite leaders are opposing the demand that GM Luton be nationalised.

In Luton and all over the country the anger of the masses of workers in both the private and public sectors is rising rapidly.

This could be seen in yesterday’s 24-hour postal strike. CWU national secretary Dave Ward said the strike action ‘will spread across the country if we can’t find a resolution. There is already strike action in Scotland today and tomorrow.’

However, the rank and file members of the CWU were much more angry and much more determined than their leaders. Their demands ranged from all-out national strike action, to a one-day general strike, a week-long general strike and an indefinite general strike.

There was a massive opposition to the Brown-Mandelson plan to part-privatise the Royal Mail and an even greater determination to stop it.

Earlier in the week the Unison leader, Prentis, had to pledge to form a public sector alliance to fight every attempt to cut the public services.

Britain’s seven million trade unionists must see to it that this alliance is formed straight away, and that it becomes the battering ram for organising an indefinite general strike by all TUC trade unions.

This will resolve the problem of workers in the UK by bringing down the Brown government and bringing in a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies and bring in socialism.