Motor industry crisis deepens – nationalisation the only way


THE US administration has let it be known that it intends to force GM, formerly the world’s number one motor car manufacturer, into bankruptcy because it has given up on its bosses being able to force any more major concessions out of its US workforce. Last month it sacked the GM CEO Wagoner for his failure in this respect.

GM has therefore lost any chance of additional billions in aid from the US administration. The reins are about to be handed over to the judiciary.

President Obama has already stated that 400,000 motor workers have lost their jobs in the US, and many more have had their wages, hours and health and pension benefits slashed.

GM going into Section 11 bankruptcy will see all agreements with the UAW union ripped up, with a judge able to supervise just how many GM workers there will be, the number of plants that will be allowed, and what the terms and conditions of employment for GM workers will be.

This development will open up the eyes of tens of millions of US workers as to the class nature of the Obama regime.

However, others are now getting ready to follow Obama’s lead.

Chrysler, the smallest of the ‘Big Three’ giants, has already received a $4bn US government gift.

This was conditional on Chrysler forging an alliance with the Italian giant Fiat.

Sergio Marchionne, the boss of Fiat, has now threatened to walk away from the alliance with the US carmaker if the US trade unions, principally the UAW, do not make some very big concessions.

He said on Wednesday: ‘Absolutely we are prepared to walk. There is no doubt in my mind.’

The US carmaker has until April 30th to finalise a partnership deal with Fiat, or else it will not receive the expected next tranche of US administration cash – it would then go into Section 11 bankruptcy as well.

The last words of Marchionne to Chrysler were: ‘We cannot commit to this organisation unless we see light at the end of the tunnel.’

He said of the UAW membership in North America (the US and Canada) ‘I think they need to see what state the industry is in.

‘Canada and the US are coming in as lenders of last resort. No-one else would put a dollar in. This is the worst condemnation of the viability of this business.’

The US UAW leadership has been stunned into silence.

CAW Canadian auto workers leader, Ken Lewenza said he was ‘surprised and disappointed . . . I want to give Marchionne a great deal of credit for turning around Fiat Corporation, but he didn’t turn around Fiat by attacking workers in Italy.’

The Canadian and US workers are to be the targets of another major assault, that will greatly sharpen the class struggle in both countries and spur the workers and the trade unions to break from the Democrats of both countries and demand the nationalisation of the motor car industry.

GM workers in Europe, at GM Vauxhall and Opel are not even under consideration. They are to be abandoned – sold off or shut down.

In fact, the Chinese state-owned company – (the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation SAIC) that bought and stripped Longbridge Rover – after the Labour government, with the agreement of the union leaders, refused to financially support it beyond the period of the 2005 general election – has already contacted GM.

SAIC has asked for a sale document from GM, in a move that must concentrate the minds of all GM Vauxhall workers.

The truth is that the Unite Woodley-Simpson leadership that agreed to the closure of Vauxhall Luton in 2002, will not lift a finger to assist the workers at the remaining Luton plant.

To defend their jobs workers must occupy the GM Vauxhall plants and force Unite to launch a national campaign for their nationalisation.

This is the only policy that makes sense.