Socialist Worker

Unions have to stand up in motor industry

Issue No. 2150

The chaos across car manufacturing has deepened in the last week. Up to 850 jobs are at risk at the Birmingham-based LDV, with another 6,000 in danger in the supply chain.

LDV says it needs £4 million in short-term support from the government until a deal with investors can be completed.

Despite having spent some time on LDV owner Oleg Deripaska’s yacht with the Tory David Osborne, business secretary Lord Mandelson has rejected the proposals.

This is despite claiming that he would provide money to bail out motor manufacturers to provide “green jobs” at the beginning of the year.

Deripaska won’t use his own money to save jobs. However, he is attempting to buy a stake of up to 25 percent in General Motors.

The determination of the Visteon workers shows the way forward. But the response of the US United Auto Workers (UAW) union in the US to the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler is at the other end of the spectrum.

Chrysler filed for bankruptcy last week. The UAW has pushed through a deal that gets the union 55 percent of the company without any say in how it is run. In return it signed up for job cuts, a wage freeze and the loss of pensions.

The UAW has done a similar and equally disastrous deal with General Motors.

This is a warning to all workers. Unite is frequently “disappointed” at the jobs cull in the car industry.

Appealing for bail outs from Labour has got the union nowhere, but the march in Birmingham on 16 May can be the launch pad for action to save jobs.

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Tue 5 May 2009, 18:31 BST
Issue No. 2150
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