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From The Socialist newspaper, 16 November 2018

Demonstration to save Honda plant, Swindon, 30.3.19, photo S. German

Demonstration to save Honda plant, Swindon, 30.3.19, photo S. German   (Click to enlarge)

Thousands of Honda workers march in Swindon to save their jobs

Nationalise Honda now!

Tom Baldwin, South West Socialist Party

Over 2,000 people marched in Swindon on 30 March in protest at Honda's plan to close its plant in the town.

If the closure goes ahead it would be devastating for jobs in the area, and throughout the large supply chain, but the workers are in no mood to let that happen.

Speaking to the Socialist ahead of the demo the Unite the Union convener for the factory, Paddy Brennan, said: "It doesn't matter what job you do or what union you're in. If our plant closes, everyone will be affected.

"We have to send a message to these multinational companies that you can't just pack up and leave and devastate our communities. We've got no choice but to fight.

"There are many others in manufacturing in our position. Hopefully, our fight will galvanise others to do the same."

Workers from the plant were joined on the march by supporters from across the country. Leading union reps from other Honda sites in Europe such as Ghent in Belgium also fear for the future of their jobs and made the trip over to show their support.

The numbers on the march swelled as it passed through the town centre and passers-by joined in. Others on the side of the street stopped to applaud the march.

One former Honda worker, Brendan, told us that, as well as having worked at the plant himself, three members of his family currently do. He said: "Well they bailed out the banks, so why can't the government help us?"

Speaking at the starting rally the general secretary of the Honda workers' union Unite, Len McLuskey, summed up the fighting mood: "If they think we're gonna simply lie down and allow them to walk all over us then they best think again."

He went on to explain how it was possible to save the plant and that the "world class workforce" in Swindon had "delivered a fantastic profit" for Honda over the last 35 years. He finished by saying that it was just the start of the campaign and stating his confidence that it would end in victory.

Government representatives will be joining union negotiators in a delegation to meet Honda management in Japan. The government needs to be seen to be supportive, but the Tories will not take the action needed to save jobs without a struggle that can force them to act.

The Socialist Party's call for nationalisation of the plant under democratic workers' control went down well. Our leaflets were read eagerly by both workers and onlookers and over a hundred copies of the Socialist were sold.

National Shop Stewards Network meeting - Save Honda Jobs: 7.30pm, Thursday 4 April at the Great Western Hotel, 73 Station Road, Swindon SN1 1DH

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 16 November 2018:


What we think

Corbyn and workers' movement must lead fight for general election and socialist alternative to EU bosses' club


International socialist news and analysis

Mueller report underlines Democrats' weakness

40 years after Three Mile Island disaster

Corporate capitalism jeopardises air safety


News

Cuts and chaos. Enough. General election now!

End Tory cold cruelty: life under austerity in Merthyr

Working families in poverty: fund homes and childcare

Toxic Grenfell fire residue threatens survivors

Poor doors, segregated playgrounds

Probation privatisation failure


Workplace news

Thousands of Honda workers march in Swindon

Greenwich Unite demands workers brought in-house

Well-supported strike against cuts at Bradfield school

Chesterfield hospital privatisation plans

Workplace news in brief


PCS elections

PCS elections: Support socialist candidates


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Socialist change not climate change

Vote for socialist mayor and council candidates

NHS marches in Yorkshire and London

Financing the fightback

Discussion and debate at Leeds Trans Pride

Socialists say we need a workers' Brexit at Young Labour debate

Reclaim the Game book launch


Opinion

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Swindon:

triangleHonda bosses confirm closure: Unite must signal it will fight

triangleWorkers discuss action to save Honda jobs

triangleSwindon: Demonstration to save the Honda plant

triangleSupport the Honda workers: nationalise to save jobs

triangleFrom anger to action to save Honda plant

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triangleIn brief: News, reports & analysis from the CWI

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Honda:

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triangleBristol North Socialist Party: Honda - What can we learn from past trade union disputes?

Nationalise:

triangleMake vaccine technology public, nationalise big-pharma

Union:

triangle'Pingdemic' exemptions

National Shop Stewards Network:

triangleGateshead: Sacked electricians reinstated

South West:

triangleSouth West regional conference shows that socialist ideas can grow

Nationalisation:

triangleWhat's needed to stop more Covid outbreaks?

Manufacturing:

triangleIndia's health system in meltdown under Modi's misrule

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