THE decision by the bosses to sell off Tata Steel is one that will lead not just to poverty for 19,000 workers and their families at its 14 sites. It will establish that Britain is to be deindustrialised and its working class and middle class driven backwards into some new ‘dark ages’, supervised by the big banks, just as Margaret Thatcher intended.
There is only one way forward in this critical situation. All Tata Steel plants must be occupied at once to keep them open, and the working class must be mobilised to support the occupations with a massive general strike action to bring down the Tories, and bring in a workers’ government.
This will nationalise the steel industry and all of the major industries under workers’ control and management in a planned socialist economy. This revolutionary action is the only way that the masses of the working class and the middle class will secure the future for themselves and their children.
It is at this point, when decisive action is called for, that the perfidious trade union bureaucracy comes forward with a different message. This is that the Cameron government, currently busy with consciously creating a nation of paupers, and about to bring in new anti-union laws that will put trade unionists into prison, must lead the struggle to defend steel jobs with a ‘temporary nationalisation’.
Yesterday the Unite union said: ‘The growing chorus of calls for renationalisation cannot be ignored by the Conservative government.’ Its leader Len McCluskey added: ‘This is the time for the government to say categorically, without hesitation, that these assets will be taken into safe-keeping by the nation because without them our economy will not flourish. We are already seeing jobs going in the supply chain because of the uncertainty over Tata’s future – our fear is this will snowball if insecurity is allowed to swirl around our steel sector.
‘The unity of voices – from business to government – to say that temporary nationalisation is the way forward must not be ignored. This helped save the Scottish plants. It has ensured that the Ilva plant in Italy survived – it must be deployed for the rest of the Tata operation.’
Further: ‘Such is the scale of the matters before us that the Prime Minister must assume charge of the strategy from here on in … Anything less than active government intervention will see this vital sector lost and with it our capacity as a major nation to support our own economy… Unite extends a hand to the government to say that we will work with them on all serious efforts to keep our steel sector alive.’
The Tory government is in the grip of the greatest crisis of capitalism ever. It is slashing and cutting furiously everything in sight, and has not the slightest intention of spending billions to save workers’ jobs. Its interest is in destroying trade unionism so that British capitalism can be rebuilt through bringing back the conditions in which it was born in the early 19th century. The message of Unite is to join hands with this government and it will save your jobs!
Unite extending a hand to this government is the most treacherous act of the UK trade union bureaucracy and the TUC since it allowed the miners to fight alone in 1984-85. Workers in the trade unions must now act decisively to call this type of ‘leadership’ to order.
Those leaders who want to extend their hands to the Tory government must be sacked at once, and replaced by leaders who understand that the steel industry can only be defended by the working class taking decisive action to permanently nationalise Tata and to go forward to socialism.
We urge steel workers, occupy Tata Steel at once, demand it be nationalised. Form Councils of Action to mobilise the entire working class in a general strike to get the Tories out and go forward to a workers government and socialism.
A new leadership must be built in the working class prepared to bring down the Tories, not to extend a hand to it, as McCluskey advocates. Only the WRP is building the kind of leadership that is necessary to carry out this struggle. Workers and youth must join it today!