Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/580/7294

From The Socialist newspaper, 20 May 2009

Thousands march for jobs in Birmingham

THOUSANDS OF workers marched through Birmingham last Saturday in protest against the decimation of industry and jobs. Officially unemployment in the UK has reached 2.2 million - the highest rate since 1991 - and is expected to exceed 3 million by 2010.

Kevin Parslow

Saturday's demo, called by the Unite trade union, could have been much bigger and more effective if the union had not taken a position of allowing the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and Digby Jones, former CBI director-general and ex-New Labour minister, to prominently sponsor the event.

Workers need socialist policies to fight back against the devastation of the recession. While Digby Jones may support the subsidising of workers' wages by the government when lay-offs and short-time working take place, he is no friend of the labour movement. Jones, a life peer, earlier this year had called for half of all civil service jobs to be axed.

Jones admitted on TV before the march that there was little he would normally agree with Unite joint general secretary Tony Woodley about, but was supporting this one demand of subsidies.

But workers on the march were not just supporting short-time payments but were angry at the closures of factories and the devastation of manufacturing. They wanted to hear about how workers were fighting back but found little from the platform from workers who have actually had successful battles. Visteon workers did not have a representative on the platform and neither was victimised Unite convenor Rob Williams allowed to speak to the demo.

This was rectified somewhat by the National Shop Stewards Network meeting that took place after the march. Visteon convenors Kevin Nolan and Frank Jepson got rousing receptions for their members' example of how to fight back against ruthless bosses.

Rob Williams' appearance was cheered to the rafters. Rob explained he had been sacked for defending his members' interests when Linamar bosses wanted to introduce worse contracts and conditions. He could have kept his job if he had agreed with the bosses or taken a huge pay-off. He had refused both.

Urging support for his reinstatement, Rob called on the union to stop funding New Labour if he and others like him are allowed to be victimised and sacked at the drop of a hat.

The demonstration could have represented the beginning of a campaign to save jobs. But compared to the big demo a few years ago to try and save Rover in Birmingham, this was a lot smaller, yet workers are angry at feeling the effects of the recession they did not create. The responsibility to defend jobs and conditions rests on the shoulders of union leaders. That means launching a mass campaign to explain how socialist policies can defend jobs, instead of seeking to build alliances with bosses.

Workers on the march in Europe

THE BIRMINGHAM march coincided with the European Trade Union Confederation's call for demonstrations against unemployment behind the slogan 'Put People First'. In the eurozone, well over 20 million workers (8.9%) are out of work.

Around Europe, 150,000 marched in Madrid, 100,000 in Berlin, 50,000 in Brussels and 30,000 in Prague. The ETUC leaders meekly called for "stronger regulation of the financial markets" and to "aim for green growth and green jobs". Many demonstrators had a different message: 'We are not prepared to pay for the bosses' crisis!'

"Socialism or barbarism!" read a banner of the DAF car workers. "United against capitalism" read an Audi workers' placard. "Let's refuse to pay for the capitalist crisis," was the message carried by the Brussels public transport workers. The francophone socialist trade union campaign slogan: "Capitalism is bad for your health," was very popular.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 20 May 2009:

We need workers' MPs on a worker's wage


Socialist Party editorial

Swindling MPs are detached from reality


Socialist Party workplace news

Reinstate Rob Williams!

Thousands march for jobs in Birmingham

Visteon workers' victory march


No2EU

Why socialists oppose the EU

No2EU - yes to democracy


International socialist news and analysis

Sri Lanka: The guns fall silent but the tragedy continues

End Gaza blockade


Socialist Party feature

Tiananmen 1989: Seven weeks that shook the world


Youth fight for jobs

Youth Fight for Jobs fortnight of action

Enthusiastic reception for Youth Fight for jobs


Education

Don't close our schools!

Charlotte Turner

Kings College, London

Lewisham Bridge rooftop protest


Socialist Party news and analysis

BT say they're sorry

Welsh-speaking worker bullied by boss

PCS conference gathers

Construction workers walk out

Union organisation necessary to defend working conditions

Workplace news

Fast news


 

Home   |   The Socialist 20 May 2009   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Birmingham:

triangleBirmingham South West Socialist Party: Black History Month

triangleBirmingham HS2 protest against bosses' attacks on trade union organisation

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: Tories out! General Election now! Socialist policies can win!

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleBirmingham South East Socialist Party: Building the Socialist Party

Jobs:

triangleRMT: Jared Wood - Fighting cuts, defending jobs, pay and conditions

triangleWales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works

triangleGeneral secretary election: Marion Lloyd - standing for action on members' pay, jobs, pensions and more

triangleVote yes to Royal Mail strike action to take on the bullying bosses

Labour:

trianglePCS union - A reply on political strategy

triangleTony Mulhearn 1939-2019: Courageous fighter for the working class and socialism

triangleMass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

16/10/19

Postal workers

Massive vote for strike action: - "We're out to win!"

16/10/19

PCS

General secretary election: Marion Lloyd - standing for action on members' pay, jobs, pensions and more

16/10/19

Socialist Party

Be part of the future: join the Socialist Party

16/10/19

Waltham Forest

Mass union mobilisation needed to counter anti-choice group

16/10/19

Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance

Pressure needed to force secret police disclosure

16/10/19

Climate change

Trade unionists discuss climate change

16/10/19

National Education Union

NEU support staff dismiss Tory 'extra funding' hype

16/10/19

Hackney

Hackney SEND transport workers achieve victory

16/10/19

RMT

RMT: Jared Wood - Fighting cuts, defending jobs, pay and conditions

16/10/19

Wales

Wales: Hundreds march to save the Orb works

15/10/19

Derbyshire

Flooring workers strike, Derbyshire

9/10/19

Caerphilly

Attacks on Caerphilly waste management workers

9/10/19

PCS

BEIS: Outsourced caterers' indefinite strike victory

9/10/19

York

York freshers success

9/10/19

Leeds

'The little people can win' - Leeds tenants push back demolition

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999