UNITE yesterday launched a ‘learning hub, to improve employability’ for its members at Heathrow airport.
Announcing the launching of this ‘learning hub@heathrow’, Unite stated that it was intended to ‘assist its members employed at Heathrow and in the local community to develop their skills in order to improve their prospects of finding work and tackle the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.’
Heathrow supports the jobs of 190,000 workers with 84,000 directly employed at the airport.
As a result of the collapse of the aviation industry, Unite predicts that 30,000 jobs at Heathrow will be slashed and this ‘learning hub’ is the union’s only response.
Unite boasts of virtual classrooms offering ‘hundreds of free online courses for Unite members and non-members alike. Courses available include: applying for work, CV writing, redundancy support, understanding the benefit system, job vacancies and stepping into social care.’
The announcement goes on: ‘Unite has co-ordinated the launch of the learning hub to coincide with Heart Unions Week, which is the annual opportunity to remind workers and the general public why unions are vital in society.’!
In fact what it will do, is not just remind workers but drive home the complete degeneration of the Unite and other trade union leaders who have completely abandoned even the pretence of fighting for workers jobs and instead are actively conniving with the government and employers in trying to hold back the anger of the working class.
30,000 workers are to be thrown on the scrapheap of unemployment and all Unite offers is courses on how to fill in a benefit claim or write a CV for jobs that don’t exist except in the dreams of Unite officials.
The depths of this treachery was underlined by the Unite regional co-ordinating officer, Wayne King, who said: ‘Tragically thousands of workers at Heathrow have lost their jobs since the pandemic began. As a result it has never been more important to help our members, their families and all our local communities.’
What Heathrow workers, their families and the local community really want is a union that will not accept the inevitability of mass unemployment but will fight for every single job. The Unite leadership at every stage in the crisis at Heathrow has refused to mobilise its members to fight against all the attacks on wages, conditions and jobs.
As King admits, thousands have already been sacked while the union has done absolutely nothing except work might and main to split the membership and avoid calling strike action to fight all the attacks by the bosses.
Now the Unite leadership has put forward the cowardly position that fighting is impossible, that the working class must passively accept mass unemployment, poverty and a future of being thrown out of their homes as the debts pile up.
All it is offering is this pathetic attempt to convince workers that unions still have a ‘vital role’ – as long as it doesn’t mean fighting for jobs.
‘Left’ local Labour MP John McDonnell welcomed the ‘learning hub’, saying: ‘This is a massively helpful initiative from Unite.’
In fact workers will see that it is no different from all the ‘initiatives’ put forward by the Tories every time a factory closes and local communities are devastated – Unite has taken on the role of the Tory government in trying to convince workers there is a future under capitalism.
The vital role being played out by the union leaders is to keep the working class down and under the thumb of a bankrupt capitalist system determined to drive the working class into the gutter of mass unemployment.
Unite members at Heathrow must demand an emergency conference of the entire membership to expel these leaders and replace them with a new leadership prepared to call an all-out strike at Heathrow and fight for a general strike to kick out the Tories and bring in a workers government.
A workers government that will nationalise the airline industry along with all the main industries and banks placing 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 in the working class required – join today.