‘The Way to Save Jobs in the Steel Industry? Nationalise It.’

The following article was published in today’s Leicester Mercury (April 5).

Whether in the banking sector or steel manufacture, the profit motive rules the roost.

Tata Steel’s main interests lie in boosting profits – certainly not in protecting of tens of thousands of jobs.

Our Tory Government shares Tata’s concern with prioritising profits before people. This is why people are now demanding the Tories listen to the 99 per cent, not the 1 per cent.

In 1971, Rolls Royce was nationalised by a Tory government, so why not steel?

Likewise, when Britain’s banking system went into meltdown, the Government miraculously found £375 billion to bail out its friends in high finance.

This was a con for which we are still paying though pay freezes and the decimation of public services.

Parliament was recalled upon the death of Thatcher – who privatised our steel industry in 1988 – and David Cameron could easily do the same to discuss a strategy for rescuing the steel industry.

Jeremy Corbyn launched an online petition on March 30 demanding Cameron recalls Parliament and “takes immediate action to act to protect the steel industry and the core of manufacturing in Britain“.

Within days 150,000 had signed. The mood for a fightback is palpable.

It was only in October that Corbyn, visiting Tata steelworkers in Scunthorpe, raised the issue of nationalisation, saying: “We’re talking about state intervention and supporting the industry through public ownership or support for existing ownership.”

Corbyn must resurrect this demand for the permanent nationalisation of Tata’s steel plants. If we can bail out banks, why not the same for the steelworkers?

Nationalisation as the only guarantee of saving jobs and communities is firmly back on the agenda. This issue has been raised consistently by the Socialist Party and supporters of the National Shop Stewards Network, but will it be on Corbyn’s?

Unions must convene a national meeting of shop stewards to organise a campaign for nationalisation, with compensation only on the basis of proven need.

If Corbyn and the union leaders called a national demonstration demanding nationalisation, it would have the potential to put the Tories on the back foot – particularly with the ongoing junior doctors’ strike and the fact that teachers are balloting for action against forced academisation.

And if nationalisation breaks EU rules, what better moment to make the socialist case for leaving the EU in the interests of working class people?

steel

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