Year 2000 No. 60, March 31, 2000

Rover Workers Must Affirm their Rights and Fight for a New Society!

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index : Discuss

Rover Workers Must Affirm their Rights and Fight for a New Society!

Motor Merger News
DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi Defend $2 billion Alliance
One Year On, Renault Leads Nissan Restructuring

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Rover Workers Must Affirm their Rights and Fight for a New Society!

Statement of the Birmingham Branch of RCPB(ML)

The BMW sale has proved once again that the interests of the Rover workers do not lie with the capitalist employers. They lie with affirming their rights, ending their marginalisation, consciously organising themselves as a class independent of the capitalist class, and rallying all sections of society around them in leading the way out of the crisis, thereby opening the path to a new society in which they will control that which belongs to them.

The "New Labour" government came to power promoting the notion that the class struggle was over and outdated. Under these circumstances Tony Blair came up with the ideology of social partnership and the "Third Way". The attitude of BMW towards the workers, which has included ripping up agreements for job security and "jobs for life", has been totally anti-worker and anti-social. BMW has exploited the Rover workers as every other owner of the company has done. The workers have been forced to accept various productivity drives and changes in working practices in order to maintain their jobs. Now that it has suited the company, they have washed their hands of Rover without caring at all about the livelihoods of the workforce.

BMW is pointing, at the moment, to the losses the company is supposed to have made. Any company in the global market is faced with intense competition at the moment including BMW. In particular, the car industry is in cut-throat competition with its competitors to dominate the market. The market for cars is shrinking at present, particularly in Europe, where there is a massive overproduction of cars. In order to compete, massive investment to the tune of many billions of pounds is necessary to update and invest in new plant and machinery. Every company is faced with this challenge in the drive to dominate in the global market place. The aim of the huge monopolies, such as BMW and Ford, is to wipe out the opponent in the field and make maximum profits. The aims of any large capitalist company have not changed and will never change, regardless of how it affects the people who are involved in production.

The only conclusion to be drawn from this can be that the interests of the workers and capitalists can never be the same. The interests of the capitalists are anti-social, while the interest of the workers is to become leaders of society and put the well-being of the people at the centre of everything.

The effect on communities and the people's lives of the closure of Longbridge and other Rover plants will be traumatic and devastating. Many thousands of workers in the West Midlands will be directly and indirectly affected by the Rover break-up. Working class people are being forced to shoulder the burden of a crisis, which is not of their making. It is not the workers who are getting richer by the competition and it is not they who can easily walk away from Rover. Workers will still have to support their families, pay bills, etc. The idea that "market forces" are the solution is an outdated notion, which leads to low pay, unemployment and a general devastation of the national economy. A modern society, in the 21st century, cannot abdicate its responsibility; it has to meet the claims of every member of society on it and guarantee the people’s well-being. Society cannot abandon the Rover workers and the broad masses of the people of the West Midlands and other parts of the country. Under these circumstances the working class cannot have any illusions that here is a "third way" between taking society backwards towards medievalism and moving society forwards to socialism. There is no middle path: the workers have their interests, which are consistent with the general interests of society – the capitalists have theirs, which are against these general interests! The workers therefore cannot give in to any idea that class struggle is outdated or over. They must come to the conclusion, based on and summing up their own living experience, that they must constitute themselves as the nation, while the capitalists have abandoned any national interest and are a superfluous class, giving rise to everything backward which must be swept away.

Workers will have to fight to change the direction in society, for a programme that does not take society in an anti-social, anti-worker direction. In fighting for the victory of this programme, class conscious workers will dedicate themselves to working for a modern socialist system, where the rights of all people as human beings are put in the first place and the rights of workers as workers are fully recognised.

Stop Paying the Rich – Increase Investments in Social Programmes!

For a Socialist Britain!

Article Index

Motor Merger News

DaimlerChrysler and Mitsubishi Defend $2 billion Alliance

The DaimlerChrysler chairman and the Mitsubishi Motors president have been the targets of a backlash of criticism against their $2 billion (£1.25 billion) alliance.

The DaimlerChrysler chairman said in defence, "Mitsubishi will not fail in its programme. I have full confidence in the Mitsubishi management." The Mitsubishi Motors president said, "Even without the tie-up, restructuring has been part of our management programme with specific objectives, specific target dates."

Analysts had said that investors were unimpressed with Mitsubishi’s complacent attitude toward restructuring, despite the heavy debt burden and losses the Japanese monopoly is saddled with. Their president said, "Some newspapers have reported that we will fall under the DaimlerChrysler umbrella. But this is not the case. The Mitsubishi management will not have to be drastically changed into American or German style." The comments contrasted sharply with those of the president of Nissan Motor, who orchestrated an alliance with Renault in March 1999. Renault since then initiated a heavy programme of restructuring, including factory closures and huge personnel cuts. A similar situation relates to Ford, which owns 33.4% of Mazda Motor and its programme of "restructuring".

One Year On, Renault Leads Nissan Restructuring

According to agency reports, there is a list of "tough sounding English business words" for staff to learn – "accountability", "discipline" and "demotion".

The car monopoly’s goals are said to be a 20% reduction in purchasing costs and the slashing of a huge 20,000 jobs.

Just a year ago, on March 27 1999, Nissan ceded control to France’s Renault, which launched a drastic "restructuring" programme of job cuts, plant closures and huge cost reductions.

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