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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 June 2021

Save jobs, save livelihoods, save GKN Automotive - nationalise the plant!

  (Click to enlarge)

Birmingham Socialist Party members

On 28 January, not even a full month into 2021, over 500 GKN Automotive key workers based at the company's Erdington plant received the devastating news that their jobs and livelihoods are to be axed. The redundancy number could be doubled or tripled, with a devastating knock-on effect to others in the associated supply chain.

This is even more horrendous when put in the context of how these 500-plus skilled jobs will be gutted from the working-class community of Erdington, a constituency that has twice the national average of unemployment. And once these jobs are gone, they are gone! Workers will struggle to find new employment with similar wages, forcing workers to struggle to support themselves and their families.

Fast forward to the 19 May, and management turned down the rescue plan put forward by Unite the Union, with convenor Frank Duffy saying: "I'm extremely disappointed in the company's response to our counter-proposal which showed we were a viable and profitable site. We don't accept the company's position and the fight to reverse the company's decision will continue."

It is clear that whatever practical plans and viable alternatives were proposed, the notorious asset strippers Melrose was always planning from day one, back in 2018, to sell off and profit from the closure of the plant.

The Socialist Party extends its solidarity to the GKN workers and encourages Unite the Union to take inspiration from its section in Ireland. There, rank-and-file members took industrial action and occupied the Harland and Wolff dockyard. This swung the position of power over to the workers in the negotiations, not the bosses, making clear the need for government intervention to nationalise the plant to save jobs and livelihoods!

There needs to be the building of dispute committees, community support groups, cross-union solidarity campaigns and protests, both on and offsite, inviting all to attend to build up sustained pressure.

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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 2 June 2021:


NHS

3 July day of protest - save our NHS from the Tories


Covid-19

Capitalism's Covid failings


Unite election

Unite general secretary campaign: Statement from Sharon Graham

Unite general secretary campaign: Statement from Howard Beckett


Israel/Palestine

Boycotts - what role can these play in the struggle for a Palestinian state?

Stop Israeli state terror: solidarity protests continue


US politics

Will Biden's 'green' agenda avert an impending climate change catastrophe?


Workplace news

Sparks force bosses to talk after blockading AWE

Save jobs, save livelihoods, save GKN Automotive - nationalise the plant!

Workplace round-up


International news

Belarus: Lukashenko's desperate attempt to silence opposition

Colombia: General strikes continue


Campaigns news

Cladding danger: Protest 5 June!

Pimlico Academy protest demands elected governors

York students demand democratic control of schools

Protests against anti-protest bill

Waltham Forest byelections: Council homes not unaffordable flats

Raising Fighting Fund in Southern region

Hillsborough crimes go unpunished


Universities

University funding reform: Fight for free, fully funded education for all


 

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