WITH the crisis of capitalism deepening, the UK bosses and bankers are using the US trade war, the developing banking collapse and slump (on a greater scale than the 2008 crash) to bring in a series of industrial closures and a mass privatisation of services.
Michelin workers in Dundee have been shocked after the French company announced yesterday that it is to close the tyre plant by mid-2020 with the scrapping of all 845 jobs! Dundee Michelin workers have spoken of their shock that the company let known its intention to close the plant by leaking the news to the media. They were not told!
Unite’s Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: ‘This will be a hammer-blow for Dundee. The workforce can be assured Unite will fight tooth and nail to save our factory, we will leave no stone unturned to keep this factory open.’
There is only one way to keep the plant open and that is for the workers to occupy it and to demand that the TUC calls a general strike to bring down the Tories and bring in a workers government.
Meanwhile, in Llanelli and Plymouth workers have just been told that ‘their’ Schaeffler plants are earmarked for closure, with the firm proposing to relocate production outside the UK. About 500 UK jobs are at stake. It has started a 45-day consultation on its plans.
In Llanelli, 220 staff are employed in the factory and the Plymouth plant has 350 employees. Schaeffler, which employs more than 1,000 people at five facilities in the UK, has chosen for the moment not to close its largest plant in Sheffield.
Juergen Ziegler, regional CEO Europe at Schaeffler, admitted: ‘Brexit is clearly not the single decisive factor behind our decision-making for the UK market, but the need to plan for various complex scenarios has brought forward the timing. ‘However, we remain committed to keeping certain activities in the UK, a country that will continue to be important to us.’
Workers must answer this ruling class arrogance with an occupation to halt the closure and to demand the TUC takes action to ensure that not a single job goes. At the same time as the ruling class moves in to smash thousands of jobs, vital services are also being targeted for destruction by privatisation.
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, has said that children’s services are at a crossroads when Cornwall council’s cabinet meets tomorrow to discuss its ‘One Vision’ blueprint. The choice facing the cabinet is between keeping children’s services in-house, or move to a so-called ‘alternative delivery model’, run by a private company that is separate from the council and is already licking its lips at the prospect of making huge profits from the distress of hard-pressed parents.
Unite regional officer Deborah Hopkins said: ‘We are at a crossroads in Cornwall as to how we look after and care for babies and young children. The prospect of means testing for such children’s services, including visits by health visitors, will be an anathema to the vast majority of Cornish people.
‘One of the founding principles of the NHS in 1948 is that health services should be free at the point of delivery for all those in need – the proposals in the One Vision document are throwing these principles out the window.
‘We need to have the widest public consultation possible and keep our children’s services in the hands of the taxpaying public and not outsourced to a profit hungry company.’ Unite said that managers of children’s services have not given a guarantee that charging won’t be introduced. Unite is one of the country’s biggest trade unions, with members on the General Council of the TUC. It must demand an immediate meeting of the General Council to call a general strike to defend all jobs and services.
The May government must be brought down and replaced with a workers government that will complete the break from the EU, expropriate the bosses and bankers and end the privatisation of services by bringing in a planned socialist economy.