THE Willie Walsh plan for rescuing BA from the capitalist crisis is quite straightforward. He has gone beyond wage cuts, he wants ‘his’ 40,000 workers to work for nothing.
They will be worse off than slaves, who were after all maintained by their ‘owners’! Perhaps Walsh and the owners of capital will rectify this by getting the law amended so that instead of paying wages they can pay workers in basic foodstuffs from company stores.
This is how low the once mighty capitalist system has fallen. Its runaway boom, founded on unlimited credit, has been transformed into a massive slump, and a colossal destruction of the productive forces.
It can’t even maintain the existence of the most important part of the productive forces, the working class.
It is truly a system that deserves to perish and have its anarchy and destruction of the productive forces replaced by a planned socialist economy where society plans production to satisfy people’s needs.
In fact the economic catastrophe that BA faces is common to every capitalist airline company on the planet. They are all bankrupted and face the ‘fight for survival’.
This fight is principally to force the working class to accept as its responsibility paying the full costs of the capitalist crisis, through wage cuts, or no wages at all, and the losses of jobs, homes and then lives through imperialist wars.
BA revealed yesterday that it has written directly to its 40,000 employees asking them to volunteer for up to four weeks of unpaid work.
This is the reality of the ‘race to the bottom’ where the ruling class is seeking to force the working class to give up all of its gains, until there is nothing else, and it is thrust onto the pittance of the JobSeekers Allowance.
The working class is faced with demands to sacrifice everything to save a system that is beyond saving and is doomed to perish.
As Walsh made clear, working for nothing for a month is just the start of the sacrifices that the workers are being told that they must make if they are to keep some of their jobs.
BA wants up to 4,000 job cuts – one in ten of the workforce – including 2,000 voluntary redundancies among the 14,000 cabin crew.
BA ground staff have already rejected the company’s proposals by six to one.
The company is also asking staff to consider temporary or permanent part-time work, short-term unpaid leave of up to four weeks, or long-term unpaid leave of between one and 12 months.
Again Walsh says: ‘Our survival depends on everyone contributing to changes that permanently remove costs from every part of the business.’
This means that the workers have to face the fact that they are to be reduced to paupers permanently.
Unite and other BA unions are due to respond today to the demands of the employer.
So far Unite has not defended a single job anywhere. It has agreed to wage cuts and job cuts and then closures such as at LDV.
The record of the other union leaders is not much better.
Their members must tell them that if they will not fight BA’s slave labour plans they must resign from their posts and make way for those who are willing to fight.
Central to this fight is the need for national industrial action and for the renationalisation of BA under workers’ control.
In this battle the unions have to be prepared to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government.
This will renationalise BA and all industries that the bosses are threatening to slash and cut, and bring in socialism.