LAST May, MG Rover was closed without a struggle. Last month the closure of Peugeot was announced and this week we have been told that 1,000 workers will be sacked at GM’s Vauxhall Ellesmere Port, a move that obviously prepares the closure of the plant.
Soon, there will be no manufacturing industry in this country at all. It will be work for peanuts in the fast food service industry or nothing.
The reaction of the trade union bureaucracy to the GM announcement has been sickening.
Instead of announcing that the mass sackings will be fought, and that the whole power of the trade unions will be used to defend the threatened jobs, the TGWU’s Woodley has opted to plead with Blair to help the workers by getting rid of the anti-union laws that make sackings marginally easier in Britain.
In fact, Woodley knows that Blair is not listening, and, in fact, both he and Gordon Brown are proud of these same laws, which they boast to employers they intend to keep in place for their benefit and will never repeal.
Woodley with his fake appeals to Blair is just wasting time and hoping that the Ellesmere port workers will return to work.
The trade union leaders should never have allowed these laws to appear on the statute books and they must now be forced to fight them and smash them in the struggle to defend workers’ jobs.
The News Line gives its 100 per cent support to the workers of Vauxhall Ellesmere Port who walked out yesterday in defence of their jobs.
We urge them to continue with their strike action, and as well, to occupy the plant to show that they intend to defend every job.
We urge the workers of Peugeot to join the Vauxhall workers in their struggle, and to also occupy their plant.
We also urge the workers of the General Motors IBC plant in Luton to take strike action in support of Ellesmere Port, because if GM succeeds in sacking 1,000 at Ellesmere Port, IBC will surely be next.
Workers throughout the TGWU and Amicus trade unions must demand that there be action by both trade unions to drive back the GM and Peugeot managements.
Both unions must make the strike action at Ellesmere Port official, and both of these huge trade unions must be brought out in defence of workers’ jobs and the right to work.
This is the action that is required to defend GM and Peugeot workers’ jobs.
The trade union leaders will protest that such action will mean that the anti-trade union laws will be used against the unions and that they will lose their offices and other assets.
However defending the jobs of the membership is more important than securing assets through standing by and watching the bosses sack workers. Assets if lost will be regained. Jobs that are destroyed are lost for ever.
The truth is that if the full strength of the trade unions are used in the struggle, the anti-union laws will be smashed to smithereens.
When the miners brought down Heath in 1974, the working class forced the repeal of all of the Tory anti-union laws.
This year in France, the French youth, and the trade unions showed that the power of the working class can force the capitalist state to scrap unjust laws.
If it can be done in France to defend youth against instant dismissal then it must be done here to defend jobs.
The full power of the trade unions must be used to defend GM and Peugeot jobs and to smash the anti-union laws.
Since Labour won’t do it, it must be brought down and be replaced by a workers’ government which will carry out socialist policies.
If the bosses will not keep open the factories, then they must be nationalised under workers’ control.
This is the only way forward. It is either fight and follow the French example, or give up millions of jobs and the Welfare State to bosses and a government that are determined to smash them.
There is no choice for the working class. We say victory to the GM and Peugeot workers.