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Bosses Blackmail Labour

(October 1974)

From Militant, No. 227, 18 October 1974, p. 1.
Transcribed by Iain Dalton.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Seething with fury at the defeat of their party in the election, the rich have already aimed a blow at the Labour Government.

Pilkington Glass Company have declared a “strike of capital” if the Labour Government doesn’t give way to the demands being presented to them by the bosses’ trade union – the CBI.

On the Monday after the election they announced that their £150 million investment programme would be shelved “until such time as essential changes in taxation and price control are made”. Yet a £29 million scheme in Sweden is to go ahead.

Almost immediately Hawker Siddeley and Metal Box bosses came out in solidarity!

What else is this but the most blatant blackmail? They are sending the CBI leader to 10 Downing Street, with a savage threat to the Labour Government: “capitulate to us or else!”


Remember the screams from these “gentlemen” when it was the other way around! When the workers took direct action against the vicious Tory attacks between 1970 and 1974, they were denounced as “blackmailers”, “outside the law”, “wreckers” and so on.

Howls went up that the “sanctity of Parliament” was violated. The Government had a “mandate”.

But What Else Are They Now Doing?

The workers who fought the Tory laws were part of the ten million strong labour movement, which, with their families, represent the vast majority of working people. The Pilkingtons and their friends in the other boardrooms represent a tiny, unelected, handful of parasites who own and control the economy and society.

They have probably been sent into the front line because they “are not short of money – the company is financially immensely strong and we intend to stay that way”.

Within days of the election the insolent demands of the rich demonstrate who are the real wreckers of society, who are the real “enemies of democracy”. Labour has a majority. Labour must stand up to this and every such demand from the rich.

They must immediately break the strike of these companies by nationalising them, with compensation according to need.

Labour must carry through its full programme. If the rich resist, as this shows they will, then mobilise the Labour Movement to go much further and take power and control out of their hands, through an Enabling Act to take over the commanding heights of the economy.

Sir Alastair Pilkington said “our first responsibility is to guarantee the successful continuity of the company”. Labour’s first responsibility is to the working class.


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Last updated: 9 April 2016