VAUXHALL factories at Ellesmere Port and Luton will close if GM’s talks with the Labour government for the Treasury to take over the financing of both plants fail, the head of General Motors Europe said yesterday at the Geneva Motor Show.
Carl-Peter Forster, head of GM Europe, did not pull any punches as he tried to hold a pistol to the head of the Brown government, putting the onus on it whether 3,500 workers lose their jobs or not, along with the tens of thousands of workers whose jobs depend on the two factories.
He has done the same in Germany where GM has made it crystal clear that it is no longer prepared to finance Opel, and that this is now a matter for the German government.
There is no doubt that GM – having made its deal with the Obama regime to obtain billions of dollars of Administration aid, and with the UAW agreeing to 47,000 sackings, 15 plants closing and the gutting of the VEBA healthcare scheme – intends to ditch GM Europe.
It is to be ‘spun off’ with the national governments asked to finance it and/or to obtain suitable employers willing to take over and rationalise as they think fit.
Forster said in his statement that there was not much more to rationalise at Ellesmere Port and Luton, explaining ‘We are very lean in the UK – in Ellesmere Port, same in Luton.’
He added that with new car registrations falling 38% for the year to November, ‘Obviously the next step would be the complete closure.
‘Obviously that’s what we try and avoid. But if we don’t get support from the Government we will have to close down.’
Yesterday the silence of the Labour government and also its supporters in the Unite trade union, Simpson and Woodley, was deafening.
The union leaders are believed to be in talks with Mandelson, the business secretary, and GM over the issue but, as is their policy, have refused to say anything, keeping tens of thousands of their members in the dark.
They did the same at BMW Cowley where the union was a party to a procedure where 850 agency workers, union members for as many as five years, were given one hour’s notice that they were to be sacked.
It is believed that Brown and Mandelson, with new car registrations way down, are determined not to hand billions over to GM or to take over the plants.
The union leaders have not once raised the demand that the plants should be nationalised to save all the jobs, and all of the families that depend on the jobs.
They are concentrating on working on convincing the government to pay more redundancy money, or to pay more short-time money, to ease the way for short-time working, sackings and closures.
It is time for the union organisations at both Luton and Ellesmere Port to take a stand on these issues.
The only way to fight the closure threat is to organise the occupations of both plants by the workforce.
At the same time a national campaign of strike action must be organised to demand that both plants are nationalised and put under workers’ control and management.
It is obvious that the Brown bosses and bankers government, intent on privatising the Royal Mail, has not got the slightest intention of nationalising GM Vauxhall and will resist it to the bitter end.
It is also obvious that Brown’s men in the Unite trade union, Simpson and Woodley, as well, have not got the slightest intention of fighting the government for the nationalisation of the two plants.
It follows from this that these leaders have got to be put out and a new leadership brought in that is prepared to fight for the interests of its members, and not subordinate these interests to the requirements of the Brown bosses government.
Simpson and Woodley have got to go. They must be replaced by a leadership that is prepared to fight the Brown government for the nationalisation of the motor car industry, and to bring that government down.
It must be replaced by a workers government that will be prepared to put an end to capitalism and carry out socialist policies.
• Sack Simpson and Woodley
• Occupy GM Ellesmere Port and Luton
• Bring down the Brown government and nationalise GM!