What we need to learn from the Grangemouth Dispute.
The Trade Unions representing the workers at Grangemouth have made massive concessions and agreed to drastic cuts to living standards, pensions and bonus payments. Concessions have been made not just for one year but for 3 years but the reductions in pension entitlement will be never ending.
The choice that was given was give in to blackmail or fight.
It is the same choice given to the Labour council in Hull and other councils across the country.
The Trade union leaders chose to give in.
Jim Radcliffe is a ruthless businessman but he is no different from the executives of the electricity companies pushing prices up or the tax-dodging executives at Google or Starbucks.
Businesses exist for one reason only: to make money. The Siemens factory will only locate to Hull if the company thinks it is where they will make the most profit, any other reason or incentive is completely false.
What is happening in reality is the richest 1% are engaged in class warfare. A war being fought by one side only.
The working class need to realise what is happening and start to fight back.
The ruling class wont give concessions without a huge effort from the Trade Unions and the workers.
We have seen the industrial situation change dramatically, with the financial crisis, anti workers laws and reduced wages and conditions.
As the sign on the factory floor says, “ The beatings will continue until morale improves”, or as we should be saying until the working class takes the stick away.
Trade union leaders need to offer real leadership to the members and to the wider working class.
Living standards will continue to be reduced until we do something about it.
The bosses at Grangemouth have been able to reduce pensions, wages, bonus payments and secure a no strike deal. These reductions in living standards must be fought; the work force at Grangemouth has enormous industrial power. A plant closure would have paralysed much of Scotland and northern England.
The trade union leadership needed to call for the nationalisation of the plant, to organise an occupation of the plant if necessary and picket other facilities to win support.
The deal that has been done will not be the end of the matter, the bosses will never be satisfied, they will be back for more cuts to wages and conditions.
This is because the whole economic situation has changed. There is no middle way; a war is being waged on working people.
What we need are Trade Union and Labour leaders who will explain what is happening and why it is happening.
Capitalism, the financial system is in chaos and attempting to put the whole burden on the workers.
There can be no return to “normal” times; capitalism can no longer afford pensions, the NHS, decent housing or a living wage.
We must fight back, we must overthrow the banksters. We need to put the working class on a war footing with the trade unions and the Labour Party adopting a clear socialist programme.