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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 January 2001

Fight for all Vauxhall jobs

JUST BEFORE Christmas it was announced that when production of the Vauxhall Vectra was finished, the replacement model would not be made at the Luton plant. This means that in effect mass production at the plant would cease.

David Wevill, Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant, personal capacity

This announcement was made over the local radio station and the workforce were the last to know. Nick Reilly, the boss of Vauxhall Motors UK (VM), tried to explain it to an angry workforce protesting at VM headquarters. Angry walkouts followed at Luton and Ellesmere Port, in support of the Luton workforce.

The announcement that production of the Frontera would be moved to Luton was of no comfort to the workers. This model only has two or three years to run and it is not produced in the same numbers as the Vectra.

What is in effect the announcement of the closure of the Luton plant is only the tip of the iceberg. General Motors, the parent company, is also closing plants in Poland and Hungary.

The insult to the workers is doubled by the fact that two years ago VM UK workers were persuaded to accept a poor pay deal under threat of the closure of the Luton plant. There were written guarantees that Luton would get the replacement to the Vectra.

The closure has been blamed on the high pound but a national newspaper even claimed that a bad review by Jeremy Clarkson was to blame!

As for the high pound, when the pound was low we were told that the company could not afford to give us a decent rise because they had to buy expensive parts from the continent. So exchange rates have always been the excuse.

General Motors, along with the other multinationals, have never had much sentiment when it comes to closing down car plants when it suits them. This was shown in the film by Michael Moore (Roger and Me) in which GM closed down several plants in Flint, Michigan, the birthplace of GM, making 35,000 workers unemployed.

The reason for the closures, despite improvements in productivity and quality, is overproduction. The car industry in its hunger for profits, has competed ruthlessly. By driving the workers even harder and flooding the market, it is now making the workers pay for their mistakes. All the US indicators suggest this is the starting point of a big recession and the car industry is always the first to feel it. Hence redundancies at Rover and the halting of car production at Ford Dagenham.

All redundancies must be resisted. The European Works Council of GM workers employees has called for a Europe-wide day of action in support of our fellow workers in Luton.

This must be given a definite date and strike action should be prepared among all GM employees in order to defend jobs and living standards against multinationals. Workers must organise Europe-wide and even worldwide.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 12 January 2001:

Exposed: Labour's Election Hype

Students worse off under Labour

Now the Party's Over

Hackney: stand up to these attacks

Hackney debate: How to take the dispute forward

Fight for all Vauxhall jobs

Import controls no solution

He who pays the piper...

Thousands rally in support of Czech TV workers


 

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Related links:

Vauxhall:

triangleLambeth & South West London Socialist Party: Revolt in Chile

triangleLambeth & SW London Socialist Party: Crisis in the Middle East - will there be a war?

triangleLambeth & SW London Socialist Party: After the election - Britain's uncharted waters

triangleLambeth Socialist Party: The history of American workers' struggles

triangleLambeth Socialist Party: Selling the Socialist

Jobs:

triangleRolls-Royce Barnoldswick factory future secured following strike action

triangleA day in the life of an agency worker

triangleExams scrapped again - young people need a future with jobs and free education

triangleNottingham City Council: Major battles against cuts ahead

Luton:

triangleLuton Council sunk by airport investment: fight for funding, not speculation!

triangle'Britain First' - tiny and violent

triangleBarnfield College, Luton: Kick private profit out of education

GM:

triangleGenetic Modification: A contribution to the debate

triangleGenetic modification: A means of making profit

Car industry:

triangleNationalise Ford to prevent closure

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