THE joint general secretaries of Unite, Britain’s biggest union, met with Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling at Number 11 on Thursday for crisis talks on manufacturing.
According to the Unite statement, ‘The meeting was called by the union leaders because of fears that a plant closure in the car industry is imminent and its impact could hit one hundred thousand jobs in the UK.
‘Derek Simpson and Tony Woodley urged the Chancellor of the Exchequer to act quickly and provide significant financial support for the ailing car industry. The leaders of Unite warned that unless there is urgent assistance UK manufacturing will not recover after the recession.
‘The union leaders warned that the closure of one car plant would have a devastating effect on directly employed workers, the wider manufacturing/components industry and jobs in the immediate locality.’
On Friday morning Simpson confirmed to the media that one plant could close and then made the amazing statement that he would not be revealing which plant it was.
He decided to leave the many thousands of Unite members in the motor car and ancillary industries dangling, worrying that theirs was the plant to close and theirs might be the associated industry that would close with it.
The employers know the plant in question, the government knows as well, as do the Unite union leaders.
The only people that don’t know are the workers.
What a disgrace! Instead of Simpson and Woodley organising workers to defend the plant, they keep quiet and aid the bosses and the government.
This is, in fact, a repeat of what happened last Monday at BMW Cowley, when the union leaders knew that the bosses intended to sack 850 workers at one hour’s notice, they pleaded with the bosses to give adequate notice, but kept closed ranks with the employer – they did not inform the members.
This disgraceful conduct led to union officers being pelted with fruit by angry workers who told them that they were elected to represent the members, not the bosses.
Now the Unite leaders are repeating this disgraceful procedure over another potential closure. They act as the junior partners of the bosses and the government, and they betray the interests of the working class.
The Unite statement continued: ‘We are calling for a £13 billion fund to be made available to provide interim relief for producers and to cover employment costs during the crisis period. We need a strategic support package from Government, similar to the support provided by the German, French and Swedish governments to their manufacturing sector.’
They are actually campaigning for £13 billion ‘interim relief for producers’, that is the employers, so that they can sack tens of thousands and retool their industries as the the bosses are doing in the US.
In fact every worker’s job must be defended. There must be no wage cuts and the motor car industry must be nationalised, the only way to secure wages and jobs in the current situation of the biggest crisis of capitalism in history.
The working class and all of its families must not be pushed over the abyss into mass unemployment and pauperism.
Union leaders who want to help the bosses manage capitalism, and see the working class as just the source for funding their careers must be sacked and replaced with leaders who are prepared to defend every job and every worker’s family.
If sackings, wage cuts or closures are threatened the plants must be occupied and a national strike action begun for the motor car industry to be nationalised.
In this struggle the Brown government must be treated as an enemy and as a bankers’ government. The trade unions must bring it down and bring in a workers’ government that will carry out socialist policies.