THE European trade union body, the Engineering Metalworkers Federation (EMF), has called for a mobilisation of GM workers in Europe on Wednesday, 23rd September 2009, at the Opel Plant in Antwerp.
An EMF statement said yesterday: ‘Due to recent developments at Opel and the current restructuring of GM Europe/Opel/Magna, the EMF calls for mobilisation and solidarity.
Since the Opel plant in Antwerp is facing the threat of closure, the EMF invites you to the demonstration held next week.’
Arthur Lynn, ex-convenor at the Luton GM van plant, now under threat of closure, said: ‘The call by the European unions for a mass demonstration in Antwerp really shows up the Unite leaders.
‘They won’t even call a meeting in the Luton plant, let alone a mass demo to keep it open.
‘All they are bleating about is how Britain can’t match the German government’s subsidies and how the closure in Luton is somehow the fault of German Opel workers for fighting to defend their jobs and not accepting the Woodley plan of “sharing the pain’’.’
He went on: ‘Why should workers share the pain of unemployment and poverty just to keep GM going.
‘What we need is unity between GM workers across Europe around the demand that GM be nationalised without compensation.
‘Such a demand would immediately win support across the board.
‘But it is a demand that none of these trade union leaders is prepared to make. It’s time they were thrown out and replaced with a new leadership that will fight for unity in this struggle.’
Meanwhile, Business Secretary Mandelson has warned of a ‘subsidy war’ and attacked Germany saying that the European Commission should ‘refuse to accept plant closures and restructuring that reflect the size of the chequebook, rather than commercial considerations’.
Dave Wiltshire, National Secretary of the All Trades Union Alliance, said: ‘The position being put forward that Luton and Ellesmere Port plants face closure because of German subsidies is a convenient smokescreen for Woodley, Simpson and the Labour government to hide behind.
‘It continues the line that “nothing can be done’’, that these plants are doomed for closure or massive cuts.
‘What must be done is to demand that leaders like Woodley and Simpson be removed from office immediately.
‘It is they who have refused to call any meetings of their members and have refused to launch any mass campaign to keep these plants open.
‘Any leadership serious about fighting would immediately mobilise to support the Antwerp demonstration and invite workers from across Europe to join in a mass campaign of demonstrations, strikes and occupations to defend all jobs and conditions and demand the nationalisation of General Motors throughout Europe.’