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From: The Socialist issue 194, 23 February 2001: Fight For Socialist Change

Search site for keywords: Vauxhall - Strike - Luton - Jobs - GM - General Motors


THOUSANDS of Vauxhall workers will take strike action this Thursday, 22 February, against the company's plans to shut its Luton plant and axe over 2,000 jobs.

General Motors (GM), now more accurately known as Greedy Multinational, made 1.2 billion in profits from its British plants in the last decade - 100,000 per worker - but it claims it hasn't got enough orders and money to continue production at Luton.

The reality is GM are sitting on cash mountains of billions of dollars and letting their workforce pay the price for the bosses' economic recession.

DAVE WEVILL, a worker at Vauxhall's Ellesmere Port plant told The Socialist: "The Luton plant is the most efficient plant in Europe and together the UK plants have been the only ones to show a profit.

"At the end of the day, contrary to what the bosses tell you, increased efficiency, speed-ups, and having jobs timed to a hundredth of minute only increases shareholders' profits and doesn't protect jobs."

The striking workers are members of the Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU), which makes up about 60% of Vauxhall's workforce.

About another 2,000 workers who are members of MSF and AEEU unions will also not be crossing picket lines, despite a narrow vote against action in their ballots. Many MSF and AEEU members complained they were not given a clear-cut choice about strike action in their ballot.

Yet the workers' anger is still simmering says Dave Wevill. "The mood to fight is still there, as the strike ballot shows. Workers here don't trust this company one inch.

"Multinationals straddle the globe, whilst national governments let them ride roughshod over workers' rights. The only people who can oppose them are the workers through international solidarity.

"The only way to guarantee jobs and security for all workers in any industry, is to nationalise all the leading corporations and operate them under workers' control and management.

"I think the union leaders should be immediately pressed to organise all-out action.

"At the same time we need to organise strike action by GM workers across Europe to show they can't play divide and rule. Every GM worker knows the company will come back for more.

"Thursday will show GM how determined we are but after that we need to go for all-out action to let them know we mean business."

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