Resolution: Blame the bosses and the bankers - jobs for all - workers should not pay for the crisis

This resolution, submitted by LU Fleet and TfL no.1 branches, was passed at the April meeting of the Regional Council, with 10 votes in favour, none against and 3 abstentions.

The economic crisis threatens the jobs and living standards of billions of people across the world. It is essential that the trade union and labour movement fights to prevent the bosses and governments making workers pay for their crisis.

The Labour government has entirely failed to protect workers. Instead it has shovelled billions to the bankers and the bosses without introducing any element of popular control, let alone genuine social ownership.

We are appalled at the failure of most union leaders to offer any alternative to the politics of wage cuts, job losses, closures and surrender to the bosses’ demands.

The recent unofficial strikes at construction sites, refineries and power stations demonstrate the volatility of the present situation and the political contradictions of the resistance. They were triggered by real questions – the pernicious regime of sub-contracting, attempts to use cheap labour to undermine wages, union-busting and unemployment. During the strikes progressive demands were passed by the Lindsey Oil Refinery strike committee: • No victimisation of workers taking solidarity action • All workers in UK to be covered by NAECI Agreement • Union controlled registering of unemployed and locally skilled union members, with nominating rights as work becomes available • Government and employer investment in proper training/apprenticeships for new generation of construction workers – fight for a future for young people • All immigrant labour to be unionised • Trade Union assistance for immigration workers – including interpreters – and access to Trade Union advice – to promote active integrated Trade Union Members • Build links with construction trade unions on the continent • Re-instatement of victimised worker John McKewan

But at the same time the slogan “British Jobs for British Workers” appeared on the picket lines everywhere. This slogan did not fall from the sky: it reflects the speech by Gordon Brown at the 2007 Labour conference and the nationalist camapign waged by some Unite leaders since the Peugeot “campaign” in 2006.

This slogan has no place in the workers’ movement and means division at a time when workers desperately needs unity. It opens the door to the racists and the fascists. It is the reason the BNP felt confident to appear at picket lines and to support the strikes.

All trade unionists must energetically camapign against “British Jobs for British Workers” and instead demand “Blame the bosses and the bankers, jobs for all, workers should not pay for the crisis”. We support neither the “British Jobs for British Workers slogan nor the neoliberal free trade policies of Lord Mandelson and Gordon Brown. Mandelson and Brown say they “oppose xenophobia” but their policies encourage racism.

We call for equal pay and conditions for all, no undercutting of national agreements, full union rights, total openess of pay rates, and deductions for accommodation etc. These rights must apply to all workers regardless of nationality.

We opposed anything that divides workers.