WE are living in the period of the death agony of the capitalist system.
It is only natural then, that out of the shadows should come the venture capitalists.
Their role is to buy up entire industries, with billions of pounds or dollars that they have borrowed from the banks and then to ruthlessly destroy the industry by sacking thousands of workers while wracking up the exploitation of the rest.
They literally make their profits out of sweating the working class.
This is what Permira did to the AA, and what Texas Pacific did to Gate Gourmet, London.
The GMB trade union has shown that ‘since the venture capitalists took over in 2004, they have loaded the AA with debts of £1.9 billion.
‘This massive debt amounts to over six years of the subscription income from the AA’s individual members.
‘It amounts to £300,000 per AA employee. This debt is backed up by virtually no assets since nearly all buildings and fleet used by AA are leased.
‘At AA the venture capitalists sacked 4,000 of the 10,000 staff saving £100m per annum on resources devoted to dealing with four million breakdowns a year.
‘Not surprisingly, services to AA customers have declined. AA response times have fallen from first to third in the Which rankings. As there are fewer patrol staff to deal with same volume of breakdowns, each patrol is forced to work overtime and has to attend a higher number of breakdowns per day.
‘The patrols are only able to provide a lower level of roadside service particularly to the four million individual AA members. More of them end up being towed to garages than was formerly the case.
‘Profits at AA have risen to £175 million of which more than half is used to pay interest on the £1.9 billion loans. So rather than the Exchequer receiving tax on these profits the venture capitalists are able to claim millions in tax relief on the interest payments. Thus the taxpayer is subsidising the activities of the venture capitalists.’
At Gate Gourmet, Texas Pacific conducted a virtually military operation to sack 700 workers and carry through 645 redundancies.
On August 10th 2005, hundreds of replacement workers were brought into the plant, where security forces employed by a company, which advertises that it operates in Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq, were already in place on ‘red alert’.
Also at the plant were 12 professional bodyguards to ‘protect’ the management, as well as armed riot police who were brought onto the site.
The shocked workers gathered in the canteen where they were sacked by megaphone and escorted off the site. Many others arriving for work were sacked in the car park.
The company then brought in their ‘survival plan’ and ratcheted up the exploitation of the new workforce.
At the AA, the GMB has exposed and harried Permira. At Gate Gourmet, to their eternal shame, the TGWU leaders agreed to both the survival plan and the hundreds of redundancies!
Now we learn that the same breed of venture capitalists are actually donating to the Labour government, as their government, with cabinet ministers like the ex-radical Peter Hain defending the acceptance of such blood money, sweated off the backs of the working class.
No wonder Blair and Brown refused to support the sacked Gate Gourmet workers!
The trade unions must now take action to fight the venture capitalists and their patrons, the Blair government.
If the Labour Party does not return the donations of the venture capitalists, the trade unions must cease financing the Labour Party and finance a new workers party that will carry out socialist policies.
This means expropriating the venture capitalists and the banks that fuel their interventions with massive loans.
Even TUC leader Barber has called the venture capitalists ‘amoral asset-strippers’.
The TUC must act now and call industrial action to restore the sacked AA and Gate Gourmet workers to their jobs!