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Withdrawal of the Gallois project!

No redundancy in Airbus!

Unlimited general strike of all EADS!

 

After several weeks of negotiations between the German and the French EADS leaders, and after a final underhand dealing between Jacques Chirac and Angela Merkel on February 23rd, Louis Gallois, Airbus chairman and EADS vice-chairman, submitted the Power 8 program, which was carried unanimously by EADS board of directors. This firm, which Airbus is the main subsidiary, also produces launchers and military material.

The restructuring program plans to transfer or to close several factories, to divide activities between the sites which keep activity, to shed 10 000 jobs in Europe in four years time, 50% Airbus workers and 50% subcontracting or temporary workers. In other words, contrary to what Gallois pretends, 5 000 workers will be laid off. 5 000 other workers will be under pressure and  their work will be harder for all those who keep their job.

When the A380 plane was initiated, two years ago, Airbus was introduced as a success for the European Union by Gerhard Schröder, the German chancellor, by Jacques Chirac, the French president, by Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, and by José Luis Zapatero. Yet, as a capitalist group, EADS follows the logic of capital, in the search for profit, for gains of productivity against its competitors, for a higher exploitation of its workers, whatever the nationality of its shareholders is, and whatever it is a “public” or a “private” firm. The American firm Boeing has  used exactly the same methods against its workers after the absorption of McDonnell Douglas and when Airbus sales became higher on civil airplanes : 42 % of the workfoce was cut since 1998, and the labour was intensified for those who are still employed. Boeing then became first again.

 

The Leaders of the reformist parties and of the unions agree for... restructuring

 

Whereas no European country could face Boeing competition alone, and whereas such an attempt would even lead to more losses for the aeronautics workers, all the communist parties left in Germany (PDS), in France (PCF) and in Spain (PCE) defend the national interest”. Each of them appeals to its own bourgeois government, all of which are parties to the Gallois project.

As for the Social Democrat parties, they lead the governments in Britain (LP) and in the Spanish State (PSOE), or they take part of it in Germany (SPD). It is an opposing party (PS) in France, and when he was leading the government, it allowed the French capitalist group Lagardère to manage the EADS group jointly. Now he refuses to condemn the redundancies. Ségolène Royal, its candidate at the presidential election, proposes to enter the regions in the capital, even if the Länder in Airbus capital obviously did not protect the workers. Like Royal, the PCF candidate Marie-George Buffet comes down in favour of « a moratorium », that is only a deferment of the project.

In order to hide that all capitalist firms periodically carry out redundancies, all the union leaders (IG Metall, FO, CGT, UGT…), like the current EADS leadership, put forward « management errors » that were made by the previous leadership. All share the tricky proposals made by the « socialist » or « communist » parties: recapitalization, some more national State, some more regions or some more union bureaucrats that are generously paid in the board of directors... All the union leaders put forward the national interest, shared by the exploiters and by the exploited, by those who fire and by those who are fired. For instance, Jean-François Knepper, a FO leader (the main Airbus union in France), does not condemn the restructuring, but Germany's share:

For this leader, Louis Gallois gave too much to the Germans, « who dream to get a ruling position in the European aircraft manufacturing for thirty years » (Sud-Ouest, March 2nd 2007).

The union leaders propose to negotiate the restructuring, they want the workers of other countries to suffer the load of it, and they get limited to symbolic actions: one day strikes in Germany and in France on the 6th of March, European day of strike on the 16th of March.

 

No redundancy! Unlimited strike of all EADS workers until the Gallois project is withdrawn!

 

When the project of the French-German leadership got known, the workers of several sites spontaneously stopped work and demonstrated. They were right: no more division between nationalities, between kinds of job, between statuses! Class solidarity can defeat the class opponent. For that reason, Airbus and EADS workers must force their unions to call for the unlimited general strike of the whole firm, of all its subcontractors and of all the group, to organize general meetings on all sites, the election of their representatives, the centralization of elected committees on each site on a European level, in order to get:

                    the withdrawal of the Gallois project and the preservation of all the jobs in Spain, in Britain, in Germany and in France,

                    the integration of all the subcontracting workers and of all the temporary workers in fixed-term contracts.

Such an expression of strength could force the French-German leadership to retreat, especially since Airbus order book is full and since a stoppage of all factories would lead to delays in delivery. It would allow other wins against the redundancy plans, against all the attacks directed at the pensions and at the unemployment insurance, against the capitalist bosses and against all the governments which are in their service.

Indeed, within capitalism, any partial victory keeps fragile. Only the control of the firm by the Airbus workers, technicians, employees, engineers, and the expropriation of the capitalist shareholders, especially DaimlerChrysler and Lagardère, can allow employment on a long-term basis. Only the setting up of the Socialist United States of Europe will allow the producers to escape exploitation or unemployment because they will lead the collectivized and planified economy in removing the old borders of Europe, that are outmoded for long. Only new parties will allow the proletariats of Europe to expropriate those who lay off and to overcome the old imperialist States.

2007 March 11th