Friday, 1 May 2009

Victory at Visteon, Bonuses for the City, and more job losses

On International Worker's Day, there's some fantastic news that Ford Visteon workers who have been occupying and picketing their factories to defend their jobs may have won a victory due to their persistence. Find out more from the Unite website.

Speaking from the May Day Rally in Trafalgar Square London, John McDonnell said their victory demonstrated "the power of workers' solidarity, 'united we stand divided we fall', 'unity is strength', 'an injury to one is an injury to all', 'the people united will never be defeated.

But while trade unionists in London were celebrating the hard won victory of 600 Ford Visteon workers in plants at Basildon, Belfast and Enfield, it has emerged that city workers in the banking sector are in for another billion pound round of bonuses.

According to the Office for National Statistics, city bonuses will be £7bn this year. John McDonnell MP and other Labour MPs have tabled EDM 1412 'City Bonuses' calling on the Government to "act immediately to introduce a windfall wealth tax on these bonuses" and "to nationalise the financial sector to protect the taxpayer, save jobs and ensure profits are used to fund public need rather than private greed."

Writing in the Morning Star last month, I wrote:

"when transnational corporations are deciding where to cut jobs, it is in their interests to choose British workers who are less likely to be unionised and where they have the lowest legal commitments to fulfil."

I wrote that as it was a logical conclusion given that, as Gordon Brown boasted to the CBI, the UK has "the most flexible labour market in Europe."

Today it was reported that "Britain lost more than 63,000 jobs at the start of this year, by far the most in Europe. Our cut-backs accounted for more than a quarter of the 220,000 jobs lost in the EU."

That is a direct result of this New Labour government refusing to restore trade union rights. It also shows if workers are to win they need to stand in solidarity, not behind their union's obsequiousness to New Labour.

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