Mass strikes required to fight sackings and wage cuts

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THE jobs crisis in the UK is sharpening to boiling point in the motor car industry and in the power construction industry, affecting hundreds of thousands of workers.

In the power industry the Unite union leaders have refused to lead the battle for jobs, leaving the rank and file to take unofficial strike action to demand their right to work, and the elimination of private contractors, who use EU legislation to bring cheap labour workers into the UK to replace them.

The union leaders refused to lead this struggle but played a leading role in trying to end it, recommending that the workers return to work with a compromise agreement.

In fact, having refused to organise official action, this is the only recommendation that they could make. Any other would have left Unite open to sequestration!

These gentlemen are becoming servants of the Brown government and the state.

The Unite general secretary, Simpson, said on Wednesday: ‘The government is beginning to grasp the fundamental issues. The problem is not workers from other European countries working in the UK, nor is it about foreign contractors winning contracts in the UK. The problem is that employers are excluding UK workers from even applying for work on these contracts. . .’

‘No European worker should be barred from applying for a British job and absolutely no British worker should be barred from applying for a British job.’

A Unite statement concluded: ‘The current proposals to be put to the workers at Lindsey will mean that 102 additional jobs will be created for UK workers.’

If this is the case the gain has been won by the unofficial strikers and the government’s fear of power cuts.

However, nothing has been settled. The struggle in fact is sharpening. It will require official strike action by the British trade unions and the trade unions of Europe to end the EU system of contractors undermining trade union rates of pay.

The UK and EU unions must win the right of their members to work, and reimpose the closed shop on all the major industries, so that only trade unionists work in them, at trade union rates of pay.

The Unite union leaders have also been working for the Brown government in the motor car industry. They have spent their time forming a bloc with the motor car employers to demand cash for the employers while organising wage cuts and hours cuts in the industry.

Yesterday they agreed that Vauxhall workers in Ellesmere Port should have their hours reduced from 38 to 30 along with a wage cut, and that Luton Vauxhall workers should have their hours cut from 38 to 34 with a wage cut.

The GM management stated yesterday: ‘The working time reduction agreements have been reached following extensive talks between senior GM management representatives from across all GM’s European Operations and senior Trade Union leaders.

‘Dialogue has been constructive and supportive.’ Quite.

Real union leaders would not organise these cuts for the bosses. They would see that the plants were occupied and a campaign begun for their nationalisation in order to defend every job and defend every worker’s wages.

However Woodley and Simpson’s ‘partnership’ with Ford has come unstuck. Yesterday Ford decided on over 850 sackings and freezing an agreed wage rise to finance the redundancies.

Workers will not accept this. Simpson and Woodley have been forced to threaten a strike ballot.

Workers must demand strike action is called for all motor car workers and power workers to halt the sackings, wage cuts, and power industry job lock-outs. The union must bring the Brown government down and bring in a workers government that will nationalise the motor car and power industries to defend jobs, wages and the right to work of the working class.