THE proposed sacking of 1,500 Bombardier workers in Derby is the beginning of the end for the train construction industry in the UK, and is a major part of the still alive and well Thatcherite mission plan to deindustrialise the UK, and leave it dependent on service industries and the fate of its bankrupt banks.
Yesterday, three of the major trade unions who have members at Bombardier, or whose members depend on Bombardier, spoke up about the proposed sackings, which the government has declared will be allowed to take place, and that it was content that the contract for the construction of train carriages for Thameslink goes to Siemens.
The government is unrepentant about this massive attack, and has shrugged off the revelation that it was warned these sackings were on the cards, and that the UK government was taking little interest in defending its manufacturing base, while on the Continent, the French and German governments were heavily involved in the defence of their respective industries.
The RMT leader Bob Crow commented yesterday: ‘It’s a scandal that the government are colluding with the European Union in a policy of industrial vandalism that would wipe out train building in the nation that gave the railways to the world. We will fight this stitch-up tooth and nail from the shop floor to the benches of the House of Commons.’
However, it is obvious that fighting ‘from the shop floor to the benches of the House of Commons’ will not be enough to save the plant and defend the jobs of workers.
Bombardier must be occupied to stop the sackings!
Unite stated that it had warned the Coalition that the situation at Bombardier had reached crisis point – and its general secretary, Len McCluskey, said: ‘The government must now act swiftly and decisively to save Britain’s last train manufacturer.’
McCluskey continued that: ‘Unite will be working tirelessly to maximise voluntary redundancies and natural wastage and we expect the company to fully cooperate with us, but the solution lies with the government.’
Again, there is not the slightest chance of the government acting swiftly to save Bombardier. The solution does not lie with the government. All Unite is proposing is it will get as many workers as possible to sell their jobs instead of defending them and the plant.
The solution lies with the unions. They must mount a defence of jobs. This will mean the occupation of the plant, and the organisation of massive industrial action to defend the occupation.
The GMB’s Tye Nosakhere said: ‘There is no excuse for this. The Prime Minister has to call in this decision and start again . . . This is a strategic decision. We have to maintain the capacity in the UK to make railway equipment.’
However, Coalition Transport Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday point-blank refused to start again and halt the sackings.
The Tory-led coalition is anti-union to its core. It is not prepared to defend Bombardier. In fact, it considers that the way out of the crisis for the bosses is for them to smash the trade unions and bring back slave labour, to return to making super-profits.
The only effective answer the unions can give to this latest attack on jobs is to organise the occupation of the plant, begin a movement of mass strike action to support it, and then at the decisive moment call an indefinite general strike to bring down the coalition, and bring in a workers government that will nationalise Bombardier and other plants to defend jobs, put them under workers’ control and go forward to socialism.