Socialist Worker

Keep pressure on union leaders for action

Issue No. 2152

Workers across Britain are desperate for a fightback against the bosses’ offensive.

But there were some worrying signs in Birmingham on Saturday about the union leaders’ commitment to such a fight.

Lord Digby Jones, the former head of the CBI bosses’ organisation, played a prominent role in the protest.

Jones has a long history of attacking unions. In 2005 he told a CBI dinner that the unions were “increasingly irrelevant”.

Now Unite leaders are inviting Jones to their demonstrations because he is also concerned about manufacturing.

But Jones has a very different agenda to the unions and cannot be trusted.

The union leaders also tried to dampen down any anger towards Labour MPs over expenses. Unite is the major contributor to Labour Party funds.

Derek Simpson, the other joint general secretary of Unite, claimed that the media coverage of the scandal was taking away the focus from job losses, and it was only a “minority” of MPs involved.

While Woodley demanded that the government should look after “workers and not bankers” he also thanked Labour minister Liam Byrne for helping to save the LDV van makers in Birmingham from going bust.

He said, “Thank you very much for what you’ve done for the workers.”

Unfortunately, nobody from the Visteon dispute spoke at the rally, so the lesson of the need to use militant tactics to win over jobs and redundancy pay was not heard.

Woodley said that there will be more marches. Workers need to take this up to ensure it happens. And it will take workers’ action in their own workplaces to stop the jobs slaughter.

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