BOTH Spain and the UK have refused to sign the Memorandum of Understanding that binds together the Magna-Sberbank-GM deal under which there are to be 10,500 redundancies in what was GM Europe.
These are made up of 1,400 in the UK, 4,500 in Germany, 2,600 in Antwerp (with the closure of Antwerp Opel) and 2,100 at the Zaragossa Opel plant.
Next Wednesday the negotiations between Magna, GM and the various European governments will continue to try and rescue the Magna deal from the rocks.
However, whatever happens, GM workers in Europe are looking down both barrels of a shotgun, with the Antwerp, Bochum (where there are to be 2,000 sackings), Zaragossa, Luton and Ellesmere Port plants facing closure, either now or in the period immediately ahead.
Yesterday morning Unite co-leader, Tony Woodley, said that in the UK there would be 1,000 sackings initially. He added that there was to be a new van produced, but that it would be produced in Russia, and that there was nothing down for Ellesmere Port after the Astra.
He stressed: ‘In our case we’ve got 25,000 jobs at risk here – 400 component companies never mind the plants.’
At the same time he stressed that the union leaders did not want to see GM Europe go into administration, adding that his policy was ‘I believe in sharing the pain of the job losses.’
He implied that if a better deal was not there to be had, and with it a fairer ‘sharing of the pain’, the existing deal would have to be accepted.
In fact, as is well known, ‘sharing the pain’ is a policy for slaves faced with rapacious slaveowners, it is not a policy for the working class, particularly workers who are members of one of the most powerful trade unions in Europe, Unite, with 2 million members.
Unite and Woodley have adopted the policy of sharing the pain because they value their ‘alliance’ with the Brown-Mandelson government more than they value the jobs of their members.
This is why they oppose the policy of occupation to prevent plant closures and a campaign for the nationalisation of the GM plants in Europe, which would mean fighting their friends in the Labour government.
They are in bed with Mandelson and Brown and that is the way that they want to keep it.
This is why a great trade union such as Unite has not been able to defend a single job, despite the power of the Unite trade union. It refuses to fight for nationalisation.
Members of Unite must put an end to this paralysis of the union, imposed from the top down.
Workers in Luton and Ellesmere Port must demand immediate mass meetings to hear a report on the negotiations that have been taking place behind their backs, and to give them an opportunity to commit the union to the defence of jobs.
Shop stewards who accept that the big issue is a fairer sharing of the pain must be removed and be replaced by those who are determined to defend jobs.
Decisions must be made to occupy the plants to fight redundancies and to launch a massive national campaign for GMM Luton and Vauxhall Ellesmere Port to be nationalised, to defend every job including the thousands of component jobs that depend on the plants.
That this will mean a struggle against the Brown government is obvious.
It is only interested in the rescue of the bankers.
Everything must be done that is necessary to defend jobs.
This includes the removal of the Woodley-Simpson leadership and the removal of the Brown government.
The only way to defend jobs and keep the Tories out is for the working class to bring down the Brown government to bring in a workers government that will carry out socialist policies.
This is the only way forward.