Nationalise Rover

TONY BLAIR supposedly shook with anger when told of BMW’s plans to shut Rover. Maybe it was fear at the workers’ anger that will be directed at this government.

Longbridge workers accepted 1,500 redundancies in June 1999 to “make their jobs safe” or so they were told by union leaders like Ken Jackson and Tony Woodley of the TGWU union. Many workers didn’t believe their assurances even then and these union leaders were booed and jeered at a mass meeting. Only the intervention of a senior BMW official that allowed these union leaders to carry the vote to accept the plan.

When the bosses came back for another 2,400 redundancies last October, the same union leaders told them that “it was the only way”.

Workers at the plant believe it should be business as usual and that they don’t want anything to do with this asset-stripping company, Alchemy

The New Labour government, the most vigorous advocates of the global capitalist market, were trampled on and treated with contempt by BMW and are squirming with embarrassment at their blind faith in capitalism.

BMW have already axed 10,000 jobs. Up to 50,000 jobs could go in the West Midlands alone. But the Labour government claims it is impotent in the face of this catastrophe.

Faced with a similar situation in the 1970s, the Heath Tory government nationalised Rolls-Royce in 24 hours to save jobs. But Blair’s government’s allegiance to the capitalist system means it won’t lift a finger to save one job.

Rover workers must demand that their unions turn action into deeds and launch a programme of action to defend every job. This should include:

  • No job losses, no asset stripping of Longbridge and Rover.
  • No breaking up of Rover and sale of Land Rover to Ford.
  • No transfer of Mini production from Longbridge to Cowley without the agreement of the workers.
  • End business secrets. Open the books to find out what has happened to all the profits and government aid of the last 20 years.
  • Rover’s renationalisation under democratic workers’ control and management.