Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/580/7294

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 May 2009

Thousands march for jobs in Birmingham

THOUSANDS OF workers marched through Birmingham last Saturday in protest against the decimation of industry and jobs. Officially unemployment in the UK has reached 2.2 million - the highest rate since 1991 - and is expected to exceed 3 million by 2010.

Kevin Parslow

Saturday's demo, called by the Unite trade union, could have been much bigger and more effective if the union had not taken a position of allowing the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and Digby Jones, former CBI director-general and ex-New Labour minister, to prominently sponsor the event.

Workers need socialist policies to fight back against the devastation of the recession. While Digby Jones may support the subsidising of workers' wages by the government when lay-offs and short-time working take place, he is no friend of the labour movement. Jones, a life peer, earlier this year had called for half of all civil service jobs to be axed.

Jones admitted on TV before the march that there was little he would normally agree with Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley about, but was supporting this one demand of subsidies.

But workers on the march were not just supporting short-time payments but were angry at the closures of factories and the devastation of manufacturing. They wanted to hear about how workers were fighting back but found little from the platform from workers who have actually had successful battles. Visteon workers did not have a representative on the platform and neither was victimised Unite convenor Rob Williams allowed to speak to the demo.

This was rectified somewhat by the National Shop Stewards Network meeting that took place after the march. Visteon convenors Kevin Nolan and Frank Jepson got rousing receptions for their members' example of how to fight back against ruthless bosses.

Rob Williams' appearance was cheered to the rafters. Rob explained he had been sacked for defending his members' interests when Linamar bosses wanted to introduce worse contracts and conditions. He could have kept his job if he had agreed with the bosses or taken a huge pay-off. He had refused both.

Urging support for his reinstatement, Rob called on the union to stop funding New Labour if he and others like him are allowed to be victimised and sacked at the drop of a hat.

The demonstration could have represented the beginning of a campaign to save jobs. But compared to the big demo a few years ago to try and save Rover in Birmingham, this was a lot smaller, yet workers are angry at feeling the effects of the recession they did not create. The responsibility to defend jobs and conditions rests on the shoulders of union leaders. That means launching a mass campaign to explain how socialist policies can defend jobs, instead of seeking to build alliances with bosses.

Workers on the march in Europe

THE BIRMINGHAM march coincided with the European Trade Union Confederation's call for demonstrations against unemployment behind the slogan 'Put People First'. In the eurozone, well over 20 million workers (8.9%) are out of work.

Around Europe, 150,000 marched in Madrid, 100,000 in Berlin, 50,000 in Brussels and 30,000 in Prague. The ETUC leaders meekly called for "stronger regulation of the financial markets" and to "aim for green growth and green jobs". Many demonstrators had a different message: 'We are not prepared to pay for the bosses' crisis!'

"Socialism or barbarism!" read a banner of the DAF car workers. "United against capitalism" read an Audi workers' placard. "Let's refuse to pay for the capitalist crisis," was the message carried by the Brussels public transport workers. The francophone socialist trade union campaign slogan: "Capitalism is bad for your health," was very popular.

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


In The Socialist 20 May 2009:

We need workers' MPs on a worker's wage


Socialist Party editorial

Swindling MPs are detached from reality


Socialist Party workplace news

Reinstate Rob Williams!

Thousands march for jobs in Birmingham

Visteon workers' victory march


No2EU

Why socialists oppose the EU

No2EU - yes to democracy


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: The guns fall silent but the tragedy continues

End Gaza blockade


Socialist Party feature

Tiananmen 1989: Seven weeks that shook the world


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action

Enthusiastic reception for Youth Fight for jobs


Education

Don't close our schools!

Charlotte Turner

Kings College, London

Lewisham Bridge rooftop protest


Socialist Party news and analysis

BT say they're sorry

Welsh-speaking worker bullied by boss

PCS conference gathers

Construction workers walk out

Union organisation necessary to defend working conditions

Workplace news

Fast news


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 May 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangleBin strike: council humiliated in court battle - but war isn't over yet

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: What is Socialism?

triangleBirmingham Central Socialist Party: Care under Capitalism

Jobs:

triangleNationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

trianglePCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

triangleWorkplace news in brief

triangleBoeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

Labour:

triangleSheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleTories torn - bin them now

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

18/10/17

Art

'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

18/10/17

Democratic rights

Conference on state spies and sabotage: who's watching who?

18/10/17

Council

Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison

18/10/17

South West Wales

Hundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

18/10/17

NHS

Uprising to save the NHS!

18/10/17

Socialism

Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

18/10/17

East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!

18/10/17

North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

18/10/17

Leeds

Striking back against the sackers' charter at Leeds University

18/10/17

BAE

Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems

18/10/17

Royal Mail

Workers' anger increases after Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

18/10/17

Schools

Schools "can't go any further" - stop the cuts: set deficit budgets now

18/10/17

PCS

PCS ballots members to send message to government: scrap the pay cap

18/10/17

Swansea

Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

18/10/17

Local government

Unite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle19 Oct Waltham Forest Young Socialists: Deaths in police custody

triangle19 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Spanish revolution 1936-37

triangle19 Oct Cardiff East Socialist Party: Is equality for women possible under capitalism?

triangle19 Oct Wirral Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian Revolution

More ...

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

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

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