Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/188/8063
Import controls no solution
THE LUTON factory is surrounded by smaller supplier factories who were told they had to locate nearby or they'd lose their contracts with Vauxhall. For every Vauxhall track worker, five others are dependent on them.
The local New Labour MP in Luton North, Kelvin Hopkins did call for "the government to take control of the multinationals". But nothing more has been heard of that idea. Showing the growing demand for import controls from some, Hopkins also points out that "there is no overproduction in the UK, more cars are imported than exported."
But on the basis of a capitalist economy import controls would inevitably lead to a trade war. Workers in exporting industries would be in danger of losing their jobs to protect the jobs of those who produce for the domestic market.
Dennis, on the Vectra line at Luton: "We should down tools. This is blackmail. Tony Blair ain't backing us, he's selling us out like he did the dockers. They're saying 'tough' to us, they ain't backing us at all, the only thing they've said is that there going to give us a JobCentre on site."
Sima, working in the newsagent directly opposite the plant said: "My husband who's worked in the plant for ten years, watched the one o'clock news, before he started on the 2 o'clock shift on the Vectra, and heard that GM were closing this plant.
The Socialist demands:
- No job losses, no asset-stripping.
- Open the books: where have all the profits and subsidies gone?
- That the unions confirm and organise a demonstration and day of action before the end of January.
- Extend the campaign with a Europe-wide GM strike to defend jobs.
- Nationalise the car industry under democratic workers' control and management.
In The Socialist 12 January 2001: