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14 July 2021

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GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure

  (Click to enlarge)

Joe Foster, Birmingham North Socialist Party

Socialist Party members attended the rally on 7 July to support workers at GKN Driveline Factory in Erdington, Birmingham (see 'Save jobs, save livelihoods, save GKN Automotive - nationalise the plant!' at socialistparty.org.uk). The factory, bought by asset strippers Melrose three years ago, is set to close in 2022, transferring work to Europe.

The 150 Unite workers present heard Barry Gardiner, Labour shadow cabinet member, emphasising getting a good package - ie redundancy! And that owners Melrose should show respect and listen.

Senior Unite officials sent messages of solidarity in a similar vein. Ian Ward, leader of Birmingham City Council had the brass neck to turn up in a chauffeur-driven Jag, having slashed jobs and spent 6 million on a scab army to try and break the bin workers strike!

Plant convenor Frank Duffy, with 30 years at the site, gave the only ray of hope through the wet showers. Despite the government supposedly setting aside 380 million for a vehicle electrification 'revolution', the workers' alternative plan, which only required 11 million investment (small change for Melrose), was rejected by management out of hand. The fight continues, with a consultative ballot for industrial action and plans for wider support.

Socialist Party members spoke to GKN workers. An apprentice said he was unlikely to secure a job with the same pay and security. A bin worker on social media congratulated us on our support of GKN and Birmingham council workers. We will continue to help widen support for their struggle.

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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 14 July 2021:


NHS

NHS: Kick out the privatisers - Fight for a 15% Pay rise

Scrap the privatising health and care bill

Tories threaten to axe free prescriptions for older workers


Covid

We cannot trust this government over Covid: Fight for a new workers' party

Trade unions must continue the fight for Covid safety


LGBTQ+

Pride is protest - Build a mass movement for LGBTQ+ liberation and socialism

LGBTQ+ workers' charter


Workplace news

Dagenham school workers strike against 'fire and rehire' pay cuts

St Mungo's strikers end 12-week strike

Telecoms workers angry at CWU deal with BT

GKN Birmingham workers rally against plant closure

Brush workers into eighth week of strike

Workplace round-up


International

New wave of radicalisation in Latin America

Putting the Olympic gravy train ahead of public health

Kazakhstan: Solidarity with protesters attacked by regime forces


News

Keep the Universal Credit uplift

Defend the triple lock - Fight to end poverty pensions

Wealth chasm widens

Right-wing study concludes youth like socialism


Campaigns

Youth Fight for Jobs is back

We need councillors who will end housing crisis - vote TUSC in Staines on 22 July

Stop Pimlico gentrification

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Everyone can spot Socialist Party in Stoke

Socialist Party meetings say: We're ready to go out and campaign


Readers' opinion

England football team

Farewell Leicester Square - the story of Britain's first black bus driver

Readers' comments


 

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Article dated 14 July 2021

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