THE Unite trade union has described Honda’s decision to press ahead with the closure of its Swindon plant by 2021 as a ‘body-blow of betrayal,’ after the Japanese company rejected an alternative plan which would have kept it open and working.
The livelihoods of over 15,000 direct Honda employees, the living standard of their families, and the livelihoods of many thousands of workers in the supply chain are now immediately threatened.
Unite national officer Des Quinn commented: ‘We await the detailed reasons from Honda, but Unite believes that our alternative case to keep Honda Swindon open added up and was likely to be backed by the government with public money.
‘It would have made Honda a global leader in emerging battery technology and in a strong position to exploit the growing global market for electric vehicles in the coming years.
‘Instead, we have this body-blow which is nothing short of a betrayal of the workforce, customers and the wider supply chain which relies on Honda Swindon for work.
‘Unite can only conclude that Honda is taking a strategic decision to retreat out of Europe in favour of protecting its North American operations and avoiding president Trump’s tariff threat on cars made in Europe.
‘Unite will be consulting with its members on our next steps in the coming days.’
It is crystal clear that these jobs must be saved and that the only way to do it is for the trades unions to occupy the plant and to demand a recall of the TUC Congress to organise national strike action to keep Honda open.
At a time when US President Donald Trump is oganising a worldwide trade war to save American capitalism at the expense of the working class of the world, decisive action is called for to defend Honda, the under-threat UK steel industry and hundreds of thousands of workers’ jobs.
On Monday May 13, Unite representatives from BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls Royce lobbied Parliament urging MPs to ensure the continued funding for Tempest, the UK’s replacement of the Typhoon fighter jet.
Plans to develop the next generation of fighter aircraft and £2 billion of funding were signed off in July last year leading to the creation of 400 jobs, with a further 350 working on the project by the end of 2019.
Commenting, Unite national officer Rhys McCarthy said: ‘By 2020 nearly 25 pence in every pound of UK defence spending will be with US companies. It is vital not just for the UK’s sovereign defence capability, but for jobs and skills throughout the manufacturing supply chain that the design and build of projects like Tempest is done here in the UK.’
Likewise, the British steel industry is under threat of closure as a result of a Tata Steel and Krupps merger.
The only solution to this jobs crisis, and the bosses’ plans to make the working class pay for the trade war with the loss of millions of jobs, is for the major trades unions to recall the TUC Congress to organise for action.
The TUC must be made to call a general strike to bring down this crisis-ridden Tory government, and to bring in a workers’ government that will leave the EU at once, and defend every job by nationalising the banks and the major industries, putting them under under workers’ control and management to bring in a planned socialist economy.
That this will require a workers’ government, not a Labour government, is being spelt out by the fact that the majority of Labour MPs’ main concern is about staying in the EU at any cost, and forcing through a second referendum on leaving the EU.
They are in fact opposed to a Corbyn-led Labour government, and would prefer a national government with the Tories to make the workers pay for the capitalist crisis.
To defend the jobs of their members, the trades unions – which founded the Labour Party – must carry through a purge of Labour Party MPs. This will ensure that the party is renewed and willing to carry out a socialist programme to nationalise the major industries and banks and to defend the jobs and living standards of the working class, as well as renewing the Welfare State and the NHS.
This is the way forward. Only the WRP fights for this policy. Join it today!