Editorial: Can’t the engineers meet the miners?

There were two items of news in the Press during the first week of May that had a certain importance in themselves, but which gain greatly in significance when brought together. They both dealt with nationalisation. The first was from the engineers.

“Leaders of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, at their annual policy-making conference at Eastbourne, yesterday adopted a resolution calling for nationalisation of the motor car industry. The resolution stated that lack of planning in the industry had been a contributory factor in the decline in car production in the past year and that nationalisation would establish full employment in a planned and prosperous economy'” (News-Chronicle, 3/5/57).

The second related to the miners, being a report of a speech at a South Wales Miners’ Conference by the President, Mr. Will Paynter.

“Mr. Paynter said that ten years’ nationalisation had shattered illusions that the workers would exercise a decisive control in running the industry. Nationalisation changed the form of control for the better, but fundamentally for industry remained a source of profit for the previous owners and big business generally. Participation of the workers in control and direction of the industry was non-existent, and consultation was superficial and largely window-dressing.
Miners’ wages and conditions had not improved to the measure that could be reasonably expected. Nationalisation had been deliberately used to provide coal to big industry at low prices to enhance their profits. It had also been exploited by the State in meeting financial burdens that legitimately were liabilities for the Exchequer.
‘Nationalisation is not an end in itself, it is a means to an end. Its role and function today reveals the “end” as being a cheap product for capitalist industry to strengthen and perpetuate capitalism'” (Manchester Guardian, 7/5/57).

The S.P.G.B. has been telling the miners and engineers for 50 years that nationalisation would not solve the problems of the workers. Now that the miners, with 10 years enlightening experience behind them, are discovering the truth of what we said, may we invite them first to dissuade the engineers from wasting their time, then to get together with the latter to study the case for Socialism?

Leave a Reply