Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/22666

Posted on 22 April 2016 at 14:53 GMT

Tata steel crisis: 100% nationalisation now!

Steel jobs meme

Steel jobs meme   (Click to enlarge)

Alec Thraves, Socialist Party Wales

With the government's announcement that it is prepared to take a 25% stake in a Tata Steel buyout there has inevitably been a flurry of reaction with hopes understandably raised that such a deal could offer a lifeline to steel workers and their communities.

Even the partial nationalisation offered by this Tory government, a complete anathema to its ideological stance of privatising anything that moves, shows the enormous political pressure Cameron is facing in trying to retain the UK's power and prestige in this critical area of manufacturing.

When Tata announced plans to cut 1,050 jobs in the UK last January, including 750 at its Port Talbot plant, Socialist Party members, alongside the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN), launched a campaign for the democratic nationalisation of Tata Steel as the only guarantee of keeping the plants open.

Unlike some of the Welsh steel trade union leaders and Aberavon MP, Stephen Kinnock, we had no confidence that the Tata board of directors in Mumbai would protect the jobs of steel workers and unfortunately we were proven correct.

At the start of our campaign for full nationalisation the Welsh government's First Minister, Carwyn Jones, dismissed outright the call for nationalisation, calling it a 'red herring' and a 'non-starter', as did the so-called leaders of the steel workers' union Community, when one of their Welsh representatives told BBC Wales news that they were actually opposing nationalisation!

These very same people are now ecstatic at the government's announcement of 25% nationalisation, which of course is a big step forward. But because it still comes with reliance on private sector intervention from investment companies and vulture capitalists there remains great uncertainty over the future of the plants.

A united struggle involving Tata Steel workers from across the company to demand full nationalisation remains the best way to save jobs and defend steel communities. This is what the steel unions should be urgently organising instead of going cap in hand, begging the ruthless private sector to invest!

Welsh billionaire Sir Terry Matthews, the self-proclaimed Knight in Shining Armour, is in the process of pulling together a consortium of interested business partners, steel managers and even the chief executive of Neath Port Talbot council, who himself has had a great deal of experience in implementing massive cuts over the past few years.

Little wonder then that as well as a desperate hope of success there is also a big dose of cynicism towards this proposed consortium buyout.

Many older steel workers remember the Phoenix Consortium which bought out the Longbridge car plant in Birmingham in 2000 for 10 and was effectively given 500 million by the then owner, BMW, plus 16 million from the New Labour government. Five years later, the five executives put the company into administration, sacking 6,000 workers on statutory redundancy terms and walked away with 42 million in pay and pensions!

It's reported that this proposed management buyout would also involve steel workers putting up to 10,000 each into the pot. This has been met with amazement by steelworkers who not only blame the present management for part of the problems in the plant but say they have absolutely no chance of finding 10,000 to invest in a project that was rejected as too risky by Tata itself. As one steel worker commented: "It would be like me withdrawing 10,000 from my bank account, driving down to the plant and throwing it into the blast furnace! .... Why should we risk money we haven't got when bankers took no risks and were 100% bailed out by the government?"

There is even a suggestion that the 130,000 workers in the pension scheme should also 'invest' their money into the project. Even the jovial, uncle-type figure of Sir Terry Matthews, head of the consortium, is reluctant to invest any of his own money into the management buyout and neither will the trade union leaders and politicians advocating such a position do so.

Full nationalisation under democratic workers' control and management, financed by the Westminster and the Welsh governments, would avoid any financial risk to workers and would ensure the funds are available to reinvest in and then develop a plan of production to save jobs and communities.

The steel industry is a multi-billion pound organisation that can only be financially secured by government funds and full nationalisation. It bears no comparison to those who misguidedly point to the management and workers' buyout of Tower colliery, a few miles up the valleys, as a way forward. Tower colliery was a tiny project in comparison to Tata, which had a short term profitable future but inevitably as a small island cooperative, working in a sea of capitalism, has now closed.

The fight for the future of Port Talbot and the other Tata plants lies not in the hands of the investment bankers or vulture capitalists but in a united struggle of the steel unions to demand 100% nationalisation now!


This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 22 April 2016 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.






Related links:

Steel:

triangleTata pension deal: 'Gun to the head' offer accepted

triangleSteely opposition growing to Tata pension offer

Nationalisation:

triangleWarrington & St Helens Socialist Party: Nationalisation and workers' control explained

triangleLiverpool Socialist Party: Nationalisation and workers' control explained

triangleWirral Socialist Party: Nationalisation and workers' control explained

triangleHow can Corbyn's programme be implemented?

Workers:

triangleBarts Trust NHS workers vote for action over pay

triangleManchester housing maintenance dispute steps up action

triangleNSSN conference: workers' action to kick out the Tories

Jobs:

triangleYoung workers in unions earn 20% more

triangleWorkers warned boss of tech failure danger

Wales:

triangleWales: Corbyn's left surge refutes right-wing Labour doomsayers

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis

21/6/17

Trade unions

The have-yachts and the have-nots

21/6/17

Education

Open University facing huge cuts

21/6/17

Inflation

Inflation: Workers lose out - time for action

21/6/17

NHS

Kick out the Tories to save the NHS!

21/6/17

Protest

The Queen's Speech; and defending the right to protest

20/6/17

Socialist

Whole establishment exposed for role in Grenfell fire

20/6/17

Brexit

Tories and May stagger on amid crisis - get them out!

19/6/17

Racism

Finsbury Park attack: No to terror, racism, war and austerity!

14/6/17

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland: DUP propping up the Tories

14/6/17

London

Massive failings led to Grenfell Tower fire - Rapid, fully funded action now

14/6/17

Scotland

Scotland - SNP loses but Labour could've won more

14/6/17

Bonuses

City bosses' 40m bonuses as Number of food banks hits 2,000

14/6/17

Low-paid

Low-paid work till lunch to make rent

14/6/17

Trump

Corbyn surge beats Trump

14/6/17

Young workers

Young workers in unions earn 20% more

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle24 Jun Camden evacuation - residents expose fire risks

triangle21 Jun Justice for Grenfell and safety for all

triangle21 Jun Cabin crew calls two-week walkout over blacklisting accusations

triangle21 Jun Anger and grief on moving Grenfell marches

triangle21 Jun The Queen's Speech; and defending the right to protest

triangle20 Jun Whole establishment exposed for role in Grenfell fire

triangle20 Jun Tories and May stagger on amid crisis - get them out!

More ...

triangle24 Jun Tamil Solidarity Day

triangle25 Jun East Midlands Socialist Party: Rebellion - Then and Now

triangle1 Jul London: Tories Out national demonstration

triangle3 Jul West Cheshire Socialist Party: Prepare for the next steps towards JC4PM

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2