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The News Line: Editorial Nationalise BAE to defend jobs! DEFENCE engineering giant BAE Systems confirmed yesterday that it is cutting a further 3,000 jobs at sites across the country, mainly in its military aircraft division, just months after ending its last redundancy programme in July.

These redundancies had been agreed by the unions on the basis of assurances by the management that they would put the company into a competitive state.

The company now says that it must have a further huge redundancy programme, once again to maintain its ‘competitiveness’ with the biggest job cuts hitting its factories in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Unite has pressed for urgent discussions with BAE Systems. Ian Waddell, Unite’s national officer for aerospace, stated yesterday that ‘We will be seeking urgent talks with BAE Systems to try and clarify where these jobs are under threat, and to work with the company to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.

‘The government cannot sit on its hands and allow these highly skilled jobs to disappear.’

In fact, the government is one of the driving forces behind the mass sackings programme.

Paul Kenny, the GMB General Secretary, said: ‘These massive job losses in our major UK manufacturing company shows how far off track the recovery from the international recession now is. The economic prospects are bleak for families and communities affected by these job losses. They add to a jobless total already far too high.

‘Vince Cable has to intervene to help create new businesses in places like Brough and Lancashire to prevent the high skills of these workers being lost to the economy. The mixed economy of the public and private sectors working together to create new jobs is essential in this grim situation.’ Kenny seems to have given up the struggle before it has started!

He added: ‘GMB officers and shop stewards will now meet with our members and there will be a series of discussions with the company at national and local levels to see what can be done to mitigate the level of job losses and what can be done to create new jobs.’

Ian King, Chief Executive BAE Systems, said yesterday: ‘Our customers are facing huge pressures on their defence budgets . . .

‘Some of our major programmes have seen significant changes. The four partner nations in the Typhoon programme have agreed to slow production rates to help ease their budget pressures. Whilst this will help extend our production schedule and ensure the production line stays open until we receive anticipated export contracts, it does reduce the workload at a number of our sites.

‘Pressure on the US defence budget and top level programme changes mean the anticipated increase in F-35 production rates will be slower than originally planned, again impacting on our expected workload.’

Capitalism in crisis is smashing up even the most advanced productive forces.

The trade unions have a duty to defend the jobs of their highly skilled members who are a vital part of these most advanced productive forces.

This means that, even if Miliband and Co do not like it, they must organise an occupation of the plants, and demand a reduction in hours worked with no loss of pay to defend every job in the plants.

The only way to prevent the sackings, is to call national strike action of all BAE workers, to secure the nationalisation of the plant, under workers control.

Alongside the most advanced military engineers, thousands of members of the armed forces forces, the armed bodies of men that have done the dirty work of British imperialism all over the world, are also to be scrapped – victims of the capitalist crisis.

Up to 400 compulsory redundancies are expected in the Ministry of Defence’s first round of 1,100 Navy sackings.

Sailors who took part in the Libya campaign, including the sea and air attacks on Tripoli and Sirte, are to be among the hundreds of Royal Navy personnel to be made compulsorily redundant – while the ruling class continues to live in luxury. This proves our point that the soldiers and sailors of British imperialism are just cannon fodder who are of no consequence when compared to the government’s number one priority – to make the whole of society pay for keeping the banking class in the luxury to which they are accustomed.

In fact, soldiers who have been seriously disabled in the imperialist slaughters in Iraq and Afghanistan are already being sacked and scrapped.

The ‘cannon fodder’ of the UK ruling class must learn the same lesson that British workers are learning. This is that the enemy is at home, not out in the sands and oil fields of Libya, and that their lives, and the lives of their families, will continue to be blighted until the ruling class has been overthrown by a socialist revolution and the working class takes power and brings in socialism.


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