Sunday, 12 July 2009

Green jobs, nationalisation, education and steel

Given all the government green-wash about climate change, you'd have thought "Green Jobs" ought to be on the increase, not under threat.

It's an absolute scandal that over 600 jobs at the Vestas wind-turbine factory in the Isle of Wight are under threat. If the government can step in to bale out the bankers, why not to save jobs like these?

When we do see government intervention, it always seems to be to nationalise debts and privatise profits. With the recent decision to take the East Coast Mainline back into public ownership, the government made clear it wants to re-privatise it as soon as possible. The way the retreat over Post Office privatisation was announced makes it clear that this is a retreat under pressure, not a change of heart. If we want government action (or inaction) we have to fight for it, not just stuff New Labour's pockets with members' subs.

You can send a message of support to the campaign to save Vestas at

In similar vein, you'd have thought that FE education would be expanding in times of recession, but actually cuts are the order of the day. Near me, the UCU union is fighting job cuts at Manchester College and a few of us from work went down to support them when they were on strike on 1st July.

These job cuts have a particular importance for trade unionists, because the college is targeting the UCU branch secretary for compulsory redundancy. There's history here too - Manchester College was formed by the merger of MANCAT and City College and the college Principal, Peter Tavernor came from MANCAT. Under his "leadership" a few years ago, MANCAT decided to close the trade union education department to get rid of several key UCU officers, including the branch secretary. It is a disgrace that he is still in office and pursuing his anti-union agenda despite losing tribunal cases over the previous victimisations.

In manufacturing the job losses continue relentlessly. It's good to see a campaign starting to get underway over the threat to jobs at Corus. There's a demo on Saturday 18th July, assembling at 12:00 at Majuba Road car park in Redcar, with a march setting off at 2pm.

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