Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Vauxhall Staff Wildcat In Ellesmere Port...Again!

Around five hundred staff at the Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire, are reported to have walked out yesterday, over rumours that the company plan to axe 460 jobs.

The workers left their positions in the press room - where panels are pressed into the required shape - at 11am on Tuesday. When their shift ended at 2pm, work is said to have resumed.

It is the second wildcat against Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port in two years. June 2006 saw another unofficial walkout, after management announced plans to cut 900 jobs. At the time, the union bureaucrats of Amicus and TGWU condemned the workers' action, and urged restraint as they 'negotiated' with the bosses. In the end, the jobs were lost, and the union pursued an impotent 'buy British' campaign. British consumers - who are also workers at the end of the day - are not going to pay more for a car because a trade union waves a flag in their faces.

Though TGWU is now part of the larger Unite union, the essential contradictions between rank-and-file worker, union bureaucrat, and bosses have not changed, so we can expect to see a similar situation develop.

Similar fights are going on around the world. In the US last autumn, a long strike by the United Auto Workers against General Motors was sold out by the bureaucrats, who agreed to slash conditions in return for getting their hands on a pension scheme which will make the already comfortable union tops very wealthy indeed. Currently, workers at American Axle & Manufacturing are striking against a 50% wage cut.

In an ever more globalised profit system, workers from every corner of the globe are set against each other in a race to the bottom of the barrel in terms of wages and conditions. Trade union leaders in each country help the bosses, by promising to get more and more out of workers for less and less wages. It is only by uniting with rank-and-file workers' organisations around the globe, and attacking the basis of the profit system, that workers can put an end to this downward spiral.
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