THE shutdown of the steel industry continued yesterday without a single call from the trade unions for action to stop the closures and defend the jobs that are going down like ninepins, bringing ruin to thousands of working class families.
Tata Steel yesterday morning announced another 1,200 sackings at its plants in Scunthorpe and Lanarkshire. Industry bosses tried to blame cheap Chinese imports for a collapse in steel prices, ignoring the massive cuts policies of the Tory government and the huge crisis of the capitalist system.
Blame for the crisis does not rest with China. It rests with a capitalist system that is in a desperate crisis in which oil prices have collapsed and great iron ore companies like Glencore have gone bankrupt, while oil, and North Sea oil in particular, has been ruined. It is a capitalist crisis. This is why the trade unions must be forced to take action against capitalism to defend the interests of their members.
They must stop their appeals to the Tories and stop trying to blame China for the capitalist crisis. They must get up off their knees. After the latest closure John Park, Assistant General Secretary of trade union Community, said: ‘The significance of this is that it could be the end of steel production in Scotland.
‘Tata Steel have to be persuaded to mothball the site rather than close it and the Scottish government has to have a role in keeping the infrastructure secure and supporting short-time work until a future can be secured.’
Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said: ‘The prime minister needs to tell the Chinese premier what action he’s going to take to stop Chinese steel damaging the future of a vital foundation industry in the UK.’
The TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Ministers cannot afford to stand on the sidelines and watch this crisis unfold. They must step in now with a rescue package.’ Unite warned of the ‘domino effect’ describing the Caparo Industries crisis as yet another ‘hammer blow’ to jobs and livelihoods. Unite vowed to do everything in its power to protect jobs and skills at Caparo Industries and the wider steel industry.
It called on the government to support a key component of the UK economy by taking action to stop the ‘dumping’ of cheap Chinese steel, help with high energy costs and business rates, and ensure that major infrastructure projects use British steel.
Unite Assistant General Secretary for manufacturing Tony Burke said: ‘Government ministers need to ask themselves how many more steel firms need to go to the wall before they step in and support the UK’s steel industry?’
There was plenty of scapegoating of China but not a single call for action – just on your knees pleas to the Tories. To defend and save jobs all of the steel plants must be occupied and the furnaces kept alight. The whole of the TUC must be made to mobilise strike action to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government that will nationalise the steel industry and all major industries and bring in a planned socialist economy.
This is the way to defend jobs, by putting an end to capitalism. There is no other way to do this job.
The Chinese workers will deal with the Chinese Stalinist bureaucracy and its attempts to rescue the two bankrupts, Cameron and Osborne, and the British bankers and bosses from the gigantic crisis that they have created.
For the working class of the world there can only be a socialist solution to this world crisis of capitalism if even bigger slumps and wars are to be avoided. This solution is that the workers of the UK, the EU and the US must put an end to capitalism with socialist revolutions, while the workers of the degenerated and deformed workers states of Russia and China must organise political revolutions to put an end to the rule of the Stalinist bureaucrats replacing them with revolutionary workers’ governments.
Central to carrying out this historic task is the building up of the revolutionary leadership of the Fourth International, whose UK section is the WRP. Workers who are serious about defending their basic gains (the NHS and Welfare State) their jobs and their rights should join up straight away, and attend our News Line Anniversary on November 22.