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From The Socialist newspaper, 23 January 2008

Bristol

Cadburys close Keynsham factory

The Cadbury bosses have behaved utterly predictably in deciding at the end of a 90-day "consultation" process, to press ahead with the complete closure of their historic Keynsham site near Bristol.

Robin Clapp

Despite marches and lobbies, sympathetic words from industry ministers and an outpouring of opposition from the entire local community, the lure of higher profits through taking production abroad has proved too tempting for these rapacious capitalists.

So 500 more workers are to join the dole queue as the company eyes a cheaper labour force in Poland. Yet as one Polish worker commented online to the Bristol Evening Post, "...the situation is changing in Poland and soon enough it will be impossible to pay 300 per month to your employees and then the factory will be moved east again, to Ukraine..."

The union Unite now faces the moment of truth in Keynsham. Its call for a nationwide Cadburys chocolate boycott may stir the emotions temporarily but cannot be sustained and does not offer a real way forward for the workforce.

Armed with overwhelming mandates for industrial action, the union must now prepare to turn the tables by calling on all plants in the combine to prepare for strike action.

Of course Cadburys is greedy; of course the company is displaying hypocrisy through committing itself to bringing down its carbon footprint while manufacturing Dairy Milk, Turkish Delight and Crunchie bars in Poland and then flying them back to Britain.

But this is the reality of modern capitalism at work, red in tooth and claw, determined to drive wages down, bully workers into submission and in the process, humiliate those union leaders who plea for understanding and partnership. Gordon Brown declares that government cannot interfere in business, while in reality introducing policies that make it ever easier for bosses to 'do a Cadburys' and vandalise our communities.

One of the main lessons from this debacle is that there's nothing to be gained for trade unionists from trying to hang on to New Labour's coat-tails any longer. Brown and his ilk support Cadburys' brutal logic. Their policies are designed to free business from high labour costs and union interference.

Unite should terminate this abusive relationship and throw its full industrial and political weight behind defending all those who will face the Cadbury treatment during 2008 and beyond. Integral to this is to lay the plans for the building of a new workers' party that stands up for people like the Keynsham 500 and not the Cadburys multi-millionaires.

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In The Socialist 23 January 2008:

Why should we pay for capitalist crisis?

Shock of recession draws near


Workplace news

Strike against poverty deals in PCS

Marching behind the Burslem 12


Socialist Party women

New threats to abortion rights


Scotland

Defend Tommy Sheridan

SNP 'trusts' are PFI in disguise


Socialist Party campaign news

Tower Colliery closes: A brave attempt

Post office campaign: Changes in the law to break the poor

Keep Marksbury library open!


International socialist news and analysis

Bolivia at breaking point


Workplace analysis

NUT national executive: Left fighter stopped from standing

More work for less pay


Socialist Party workplace news

Shelter staff under attack from management

Cadburys close Keynsham factory

Council spends thousands fighting workers' pay claims

No more stooge union reps!


 

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