Friday, January 30, 2009

Spontaneous Working Class Action ...

... and the unions sit on their hands ... not a peep from the guardians of the workers ...

Gordon Brown’s pledge to create “British jobs for British workers” came back to haunt him yesterday when a dispute over foreign labourers sparked a wave of industrial unrest.

Wildcat strikes flared at more than 19 sites across the country in response to claims that British tradesmen were being barred from construction jobs by contractors using cheaper foreign workers.

Mr Brown, in Davos for the World Economic Forum, was caught by surprise when a ten-day-old strike at an oil refinery in Lincolnshire sparked copy-cat action at other energy plants. Unions claim that British workers are being barred from jobs because of a European Union directive which allows companies to bring in foreign labour for less than they would have to pay to Britons.

As the Pub Philosopher puts it :

Most of those protesting against the use of foreign labour in British plants are not racists. They just hold the quaint old view that the nation state should put its citizens first and that companies licensed to operate in this country should be under an obligation to employ British people ...
But Steve, the terms of debate have been changed. The idea that Britain should put its citizens first is racist as far as the Labour Party and the unions are concerned. Lots of foreign workers = "we're not racist". And naturally the capitalist class (aka 'industry') wants to encourage a global labour market - it drives down their costs (aka 'wages').

(Another reason why the social-working classes don't mind globalisation is that their jobs won't be the ones being offshored. The manufacturing and the clerical work can go to China and India but you still have to have teachers, doctors, lawyers (though not legal secretaries), diversity consultants and anti-racist 5-a-day smoking cessation co-ordinators physically present on UK soil. 'Follow the money' as Marx so rightly said.)


Anonymous said...

There's something in the air, we have got to.....

Edwin Greenwood said...

When my then employer first began to experiment with offshoring its call-centre work to India, my trade union was beside itself - with indecision.

On the one hand it was aware, vaguely, that it was supposed to represent the work interests of its members. Offshoring of work to India clearly threatened jobs in the UK and should therefore be opposed or at least constrained, we - er - suppose.

On the other hand the change would benefit brown people in a Third World country, and should therefore be applauded and supported ecstatically. It ticked numerous coveted boxes.

Watching the big beasts of the union squirm as they struggled to find the correct form of words to square this inconveniently curvy circle was delectable, or would have been had the matter not been so potentially important and the betrayal so bitter.

But then what do you expect from an organization which seems primarily preoccupied with selling insurance to members, campaigning for downtrodden workers in Colombia, donating money to "anti-racist" pressure groups, and sending impudent emails to its members "urging" them not to vote for the BNP?

Sgt Troy said...

There isn't much time to save the country

Support the Resistance

Note exploding rate of "enrichment" down page

Shlomo said...

You've been writing the stuff of legend lately Laban, my Trilby off to you sir!

Weimar does seem the most likely scenario now, doesn't it? All we need is a fascistic, nationalist party to...doh!

Edwin, my sympathies: witness the rise and fall of Commercial Union, remember them? Top 5 insurance company...strength to strength, strong brand etc. merges with GA - becomes CGU. CGU spends millions on rebranding, 'synergy costs' and redundancy. NU come along...hey presto, CGNU. Can't have that now can we: cue more rebranding, 'synergy costs' and redundancy etc. CU and GA purged in favour of the 'more trusted' brand, NU. Offshoring begins: a/c's, IT, minor, fewer Brit workers=need global brand: ditch NU slowly in favour of Aviva...history in the making; 3 brands become one.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if these striking workers realise they are enjoying the benefits of EU membership?

Anonymous said...

I was thinking pretty much the same about the BBC reporting of this yesterday; that bunch of internationalists will not see their own jobs outsourced to Romanians etc, will they?

Funnily enough, I was listening to Five Live when a British 'lorry driver' rang in to say foreign drivers were all great guys and didn't these strikers realise that is was just one of those things?

I bet those are widely held views among genuine British lorry drivers, too.

Sgt Troy said...

This is what the "socialists" think. As they such staumch internationalists I'm sure they will find a spot on the planet more to their liking; they will have no future here

"You are far to kind to the scum who are striking

Theirs is an openly racist call for british jobs for british workers. As internationalists, we should not give a fig if it is so called british or so called foreign workers are in a particlau job. If jobs on offer were given to foreigners, so what? If this action suceeds, its open season for a general pogrom against foreign workers, with employers being put under pressure to sack foreign workers in favour of british ones. This is where this road leads

It is our generations Imperical Typewriters strike

I think the first action is to expel any shop stewards involved here forthwith, and for the union leaders to condemn this strike

Secondly, its solidarity action with the foreign workers, making it clear they are welcome here

Thirdly, confronting the racists on the picket line, just as we would a BNP mobilisation

As side line to this issue - election result from last night

Newcastle upon Tyne MBC, Fenham.
L D. 1049
Lab. 1025
BNP. 836
Con. 186

BNP poll 27% in a ward in Newcastle, which they polled only 9% in in May 2008

Comment by JimPage — 30 January, 2009 @ 10:21 am "

socialist unity

Sgt Troy said...

They mean to destroy us.

Read this brilliant article by Mr Fox

"The dominant ideology in the western nations is built around multi-racialism or anti-racism and is a variant of Nazism. The motive is to push “whites” out of their communities and it is done by deceit and against democratic principles or rule of law.......This ideology is totalitarian with only one viewpoint allowed. It is very intolerant of any complaint about the cruelty and injustice of it and brands dissidents as “haters”, “bigots, “fascists” or “Nazis.” It is implemented by deceit and often in secret."

Homophobic Horse said...

You know, a Southern Gentlemen has been running a long running series on a website called 'Chronicles' entitled "What is History?"

Through judicious use of quotations from many writers he builds up his idea that history is the imaginary and the ideological clashing with the real and the living.

Hugh Oxford said...

Very insightful. As you say, you can't offshore the public sector. Mind you, it's the basis of a great parlour game.

I would offshore education to India I think. They kept the British system before the vandals got in in the sixties. You still have discipline and learning by rote.

Crime and Justice? I'm tempted by Saudi Arabia, but although I want to be able to leave my doors unlocked, I don't want the execution of adulterers.

Public services? Singapore's very clean and tidy.

Anonymous said...

With regards to that 'Lorry driver'on Five Live, my Dad who is a HGV driver and his mates took a different view. They all went by the placed slowly and tooted their horns in support.

We are beseiged by both International Socialists and Globalists, we need to defeat both. How we do I dont know, but do it we must.

Homophobic Horse said...

"We are besieged by both International Socialists and Globalists, we need to defeat both. How we do I dont know, but do it we must."

Here's a point I though of, we can't attack them on their strongest most well defended front, nationalism. We have to blind side them, for instance by suggesting that a bureaucratic government is bad in an utilitarian sense. By utility I mean bureaucracies are unable to make good decisions because they are run by people unaffected the consequences of those decisions. This is where the nation-state is better because if it goes wrong every one knows where to go to protest i.e. Downing Street.

Anonymous said...
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Mark said...

Both the Govt. and the main unions appear to be in rabbit-caught-in-headlights mode.The usual economic efficiency arguments are trotted out to defend an egregious case of offshoring, backed up (sotto voce) with references to EU rules.
With Sellafield joining in on the act on monday, Broon and the younger Millipede need to get the lawyers combing thru the Brussels rulebook to see if the 'strategic national importance' exclusions to this EU wankery can be made to apply re Killingholme, where the whole thing kicked off.It is,apparently, the 3rd largest oil refinery in the country, and is owned by Total, previously 100% French Govt. owned.
I very much doubt that the 3rd largest oil refinery in France is owned by BP, but if it was, do you think for a moment Sarko (or any of his predesessors)would allow contracts for its extension to be open to all comers (with the result that French workers are cut out of the goodies) ?
This episode shows how craven our political class is to the 'benefits of globalisation' mantra.When push comes to shove, both the French AND the Americans defend the strategic national interest, and ditch this rubbish.Broon however actually seems to believe it 100%- as has every UK leader since Thatcher- much to our detriment.

Foxy Brown said...

It's about time!! Let's hope the action spreads and all the workers rise up.

Homophobic Horse said...

"Broon however actually seems to believe it 100%- as has every UK leader since Thatcher- much to our detriment."

Brown retains the old Labour belief in transforming history through abstract schemes. I.e. He has replaced the revolution and planned economy with Globalisation and free-markets.

Anonymous said...

I do hope the SWPers do come out to 'confront' the strikers, and cameras are present to record the resulting lynching of perma-adolescent wannabe comissars by enraged manual workers for posterity - so we can relive those golden moments for years to come. We'll need all the laughs we can get.