YESTERDAY the UK’s three biggest airlines launched legal proceedings in a bid to overturn the government’s new quarantine rules that require air passengers from abroad landing here to self-isolate for 14 days.
BA, Ryanair and easyJet issued a joint statement which said: ‘We urge the government to remove this ineffective visitor quarantine which will have a devastating effect on the UK’s tourism industry and will destroy even more thousands of jobs in this unprecedented crisis.’
This touching concern by BA over the destruction of thousands of jobs comes from a company that has just announced it is sacking 12,000 staff and slashing the pay by 60% of those that remain.
Despite this massive attack on their workers, the airlines have the unstinting support of the Unite union.
Unite national officer Oliver Richardson said: ‘Covid-19 is the greatest challenge the aviation sector has ever faced and the government’s introduction of quarantine further adds to it. This only reinforces the fact that the government has a moral duty to support the aviation industry during this time of crisis, as it has promised to do on numerous occasions.’
Richardson concluded with an appeal for a government bailout of these companies saying: ‘The aviation sector is crying out for an integrated plan, a financial support programme to get it back on its feet and is looking to the government for that leadership.’
Unite is also insisting on the ‘moral duty’ of the Tory government to rescue Rolls-Royce which last week unveiled plans slash 3,000 jobs across the UK.
The Scottish region of Unite yesterday called for the creation of an Aviation and Aerospace Task Force which would focus on Rolls Royce, as up to 700 jobs are under immediate threat at the company’s Inchinnan site.
Unite, the largest union in manufacturing industry, is leading the way in demanding the government carry on and extend the state bailout of industry – side by side with the bosses.
Yesterday, the giant oil company BP joined in the jobs massacre when it announced it would be slashing 10,000 jobs worldwide by the end of the year.
With production levels at an all-time low and the entire manufacturing industry, from the largest to the smallest, on the brink of collapse Make UK, representing the leading group of industry bosses, last week called for direct state aid to ensure short term survival of firms.
Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK, said: ‘They have now been driven to the cliff edge by the nature of this crisis and may not survive without direct government intervention.’
The Tories have already handed out billions to businesses to keep them going through government-backed loans from the banks. Now the fear is that when these companies and industries go bankrupt they will be unable to repay these loans and the banks will be left with tens of billions of pounds of toxic debt.
The Bank of England has calculated that this toxic debt could be between £32 billion and £36 billion – money that the banks will demand is paid for by the government.
In turn, the Tories will demand that, just as before, bailing out the banks must be paid for by forcing the most massive austerity cuts on the working class – far more brutal than the austerity imposed to bailout the banks after the 2008 crash.
In calling for the Tories to bailout a bankrupt capitalist system these trade union leaders are, in fact, collaborating in the pauperisation and destitution of the entire working class.
After ten years of Tory austerity the working class will not stand for the endless bailout of the bosses and bankers at the expense of their jobs, pay and every public service – cuts that have exposed the entire country to the ravages of coronavirus through the decimation of the NHS.
Instead of bailout, the demand must be to nationalise without compensation the main industries and the banks, placing them under the control and management of the working class as part of building a planned socialist economy.
Expropriation not bailouts is the way forward for the working class today.