Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 26 January 2001

Car workers: Turn pressure into strike action

SATURDAY'S MAGNIFICENT 10,000-strong demo of Luton car workers, their families and other supporters reflected the anger people feel against the multinational companies who threaten to close down whole towns after the first nervous twitch of their shareholders.

The delegations of General Motors (GM) workers from Ellesmere Port and plants in Germany, Belgium, France and Spain showed there is a basis for organising European-wide strike action to stop GM's plans in their tracks. The messages of support read out from the platform gave a small inkling of the widespread opposition within the GM plants in Europe, the USA and Canada against the company's "retrenchment" plans.

But what strategy was proposed by the union leaders at the rally after the demonstration? They have promised a European-wide day of action on 25 January and even though there was an expectation that something would happen in Luton and perhaps Ellesmere Port, little else concrete was proposed from the platform. It was left to a local radio DJ who was chairing the rally to say everyone should go sick on the day!

Tony Woodley, the chief transport union negotiator for the car industry, talked about the traumatic year for the industry with the closure plans for Dagenham, the threats still hanging over Longbridge and now Vauxhall. He complained how the Luton closure demonstrated the role of a multinational like GM and revealed the nature of globalisation. It was he said, quick cheap and easy to sack workers in Britain compared to elsewhere.

He pointed out that GM have made 1.2 billion profit from Britain in the last 12 years and alleged that they have abused taxpayers' money and the wages of the workers to get that. "GM have acted illegally and immorally".

The union leaders strategy seems to solely consist of holding out for mass pressure to change GM's collective mind. But what is required is a call to arms, including strike action, if the pressure is to have any effect. Workers at Luton and Ellesmere Port need to build on the success of the demonstration to pressurise the union leaders to prepare such effective action.

GM are proposing these plant closures to impress their investors as they prepare for a new recession. Already there has been a big fall in the world and US car market.

Trade unions both in Britain and across Europe organising in GM plants have a responsibility to explain what a forthcoming recession will mean for workers' jobs and conditions. They should be campaigning for the nationalisation of all GM plants under threat of closure, whether in Britain or any European country.

They should demand to open the accounts of these multinational companies. The records of where the profits and government subsidies have gone over the years should be opened up to public scrutiny.

The car bosses are preparing for the future, it is time the European unions did so too by effectively mobilising the anger that exists among car workers.

A socialist programme of nationalisation of the industry under workers' control and management, along with and democratically controlled planning on an all-European basis could meet the transport needs of society at large. This would be widely supported by workers everywhere.

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

In The Socialist 26 January 2001:

Put the Fat Cats on Trial

Hackney Council Crisis Workers strike back at jobs threat

Car workers: Turn pressure into strike action

Show of strength from car workers

Huntingdon Life Sciences: Big Business rescues a friend

Scotland - an exchange of letters

10th anniversary of the Gulf War

Privatised power blacks out California


Home   |   The Socialist 26 January 2001   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:

Car workers:

triangleBosses' pensions robbery

triangleFord workers vote for action

triangleWorkers fight back against race to the bottom!

triangleCar workers strike at BMW in defence of pensions

triangleThem & Us


triangleArriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

triangleStriking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


triangleGenetic Modification: A contribution to the debate

triangleGenetic modification: A means of making profit

triangleIs UK car building back in Top Gear?


triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleObesity epidemic: end food market anarchy


triangle'Britain First' - tiny and violent


trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

General Motors:

triangleGeneral Motors - no to 'divide and rule' in Germany


triangleNo cuts - hands off King George A&E!

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns


North West

Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay


Democratic rights

Conference on state spies: who's watching who?



Striking back against sackers' charter at Leeds Uni


Royal Mail

Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers



Balloting members on the pay cap



'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future



Sheffield Labour council threatens peaceful protesters with prison


South West Wales

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



Uprising to save the NHS!



Can you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?


East London

No cuts - hands off King George A&E!


North London

North London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses



Nationalise to save jobs at BAE Systems



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



Socialist Students 'welcome' Hillary Clinton to Swansea

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...

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

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

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



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice