THE Labour government, after handing tens of billions of pounds to the Northern Rock and the other major banks, in an attempt to save them from the crisis of their capitalist system, is poised to draw up a list of companies in various industries, that it is prepared to save from bankruptcy.
The experience with the banks has been that they have accepted the billions of cash, and then carried on sacking thousands of workers and repossessing the homes of thousands of others.
The nationalised Northern Rock bank has particularly engaged in these attacks on the working class, while the TSB-Lloyds and HBOS state funded mergers are expected to result in at least 40,000 sackings and the closure of hundreds of branches.
The Labour government’s unelected Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, yesterday stated that it was impossible to predict the depth of the ‘recession’ but revealed that he intends to draw up a list of industries to be saved from collapse, stressing that he was not going to ‘bail out’ every ailing business or ‘prop up companies that are not viable’.
But Lord Mandelson said ministers would be trying to identify key businesses and industries that had a future so that they could be helped to ‘provide a platform for economic growth in future decades’.
Mandelson has already warned that, ‘All I know is that the deeper we get into the recession, the higher the costs of climbing out will be.’
Already, trade union leaders such as Unite’s Tony Woodley and Derek Simpson have been talking to Mandelson about a £13bn rescue package for manufacturing industry, particularly the motor car industry, which is in the process of shutting down in the UK.
Both leaders have a track record of working with the government and the employers to the disadvantage of their members.
In 2005, both leaders agreed with the government that the MG Rover plant in Longbridge should be given only a two-week bridging loan to pay wages over the period of the May1 2005 general election and that the plant should then be sold off to a nationalised Chinese company.
Since then, it has been revealed that although 90 per cent of MG Rover workers have got other jobs in mainly service industries they are earning about £6,000 a year less.
Unite members must insist that their leaders have nothing to do with drawing up a list of those plants that the government will ‘save’ and those that will be allowed to die.
Every workers’ job and workers’ wage levels must be defended.
Likewise, Unite members must insist that their leaders do not agree that Labour will ‘save’ certain companies for the moment and that, as part of the deal, the trade unions agree to large-scale redundancies and wage cuts, and shift changes for those workers who are to continue working in the saved plants and enterprises.
Leaders who are willing to agree to these kinds of betrayals must be forced to resign their positions, and leaders who are prepared to defend every job, and oppose all wage cuts must be put in their place.
The trade unions must insist that there will be no sackings or closures, and that they will be resisted with occupations of plants and national strike action to secure their nationalisation.
This nationalisation must not be a temporary measure but must be permanent, with the plants being under workers’ control and management as part of the development towards a socialist planned economy to replace crisis-ridden bankrupt capitalism.
To achieve this aim the trade unions must be prepared to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers’ government.