YESTERDAY the TUC joined with aviation bosses and Heathrow management in a joint statement calling for the Tories to ‘protect the UK’s vital aviation sector and secure its recovery.’
The statement said that Britain’s aviation industry is facing financial meltdown unless it gets more government support saying:
‘Thousands of jobs in the sector have already been lost. And it has been estimated by the New Economics Foundation that 124,000 jobs are at risk across aviation and the industries it supports’ and urges the government ‘to help the industry survive until pre-pandemic levels of travel are safe again.’
It goes on to call for the provision of ‘a testing framework that will help with the safe lifting of quarantine requirements, along with support for aviation employers and unions on the development of requirements and standards for safely reopening.’
In order to facilitate the ‘rescue’ of the aviation industry the TUC statement calls for the setting up of a joint body comprising the government, employers and the unions.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘We can’t have a full UK recovery if we don’t have a full aviation recovery.’
She added: ‘But too many jobs in the industry have been lost already. And we lack a clear and realistic plan from government to protect aviation workers and businesses until they can safely operate at full capacity again. We hope the government will agree to get a group set up so that we can plan a full recovery and strong future for aviation together.’
According to a report in ‘The Guardian’ newspaper not all the bosses involved were in favour of giving a seat to the unions at any table, although it indicated that Heathrow bosses were not opposed to the idea.
It is not surprising that Heathrow bosses were happy to go along with a corporatist set up with the union leaders – they have the measure of the union bureaucrats who have collaborated at all times with the employers, proving their worthiness to be junior partners in inflicting unemployment on their members.
Heathrow has been at the forefront of slashing thousands of jobs. According to the employers of the 75,000 workers employed at the airport up to a third have lost their jobs in the past year.
The airport has led the way in carrying out fire and re-hire to cut jobs and slash the pay of workers. At every step they have relied on the leadership of the unions to hold back the anger of their members.
They have ensured that when the membership demanded strike action it was confined to a series on one-day actions by individual sections of workers and that all-out strike action to defend jobs was avoided at all costs.
Last month the Unite union revealed its only response to the 30,000 jobs cuts predicted at Heathrow was to announce that it was setting up a ‘learning hub’ to offer workers courses in how to fill in benefit forms!
No wonder Heathrow bosses see them as useful partners in job and wage slashing.
These trade union bureaucrats have refused to fight for a single job at Heathrow, or indeed for any of the hundreds of thousands of jobs already lost, and they will not fight for the millions that will be thrown out of work once the Tory furlough scheme ends and mass unemployment explodes.
These leaders are traitors to the labour movement and nothing more than the servants of the bosses and capital whose role is to help ‘manage’ the anger of workers and hold them back from a fight against the Tories and this bankrupt capitalist system.
They must be removed and replaced with a new leadership prepared to organise the enormous strength of the working class in a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers’ government.
A workers’ government will nationalise the banks and large industry, including aviation, without compensation and place them under the management of the working class as part of a planned socialist economy.
This is the only way to fight mass unemployment, and only the WRP is building the revolutionary leadership required to take this struggle to victory.