The Lucas Aerospace Combine Shop Stewards’ Committee’s Alternative Corporate Plan (known widely as the Lucas Plan) was launched in 1976; it rapidly became an international cause celebre.
The Plan was unique in that trade unionists, for the first time, proposed a radical alternative to job losses in the arms industry by expanding the workforce to manufacture alternative products which were socially useful, whilst using human centred design and production methods to maximise skills and abilities.
The Plan, which proposed a wide range of products designed primarily by the workforce – including wind turbines, hybrid cars, energy efficient housing, as well as much needed medical equipment – attracted widespread national and international recognition as a positive alternative to unemployment and recession; it also identified how technology could be used to answer society’s unmet needs. Nominated in 1982 for the Nobel Peace Prize, interest in the now 45-year-old Plan endures as the social and environmental problems it tackled are still with us, only so much more urgent.
Today, as the economy develops post pandemic, radical changes will be necessary if the UK is to meet the targets required to tackle climate change. Organised labour will lose out unless it takes the initiative. We developed our Plan in 1976 as an alternative to the tendency of trade unions to all too often be on the receiving end, reacting defensively to profit-driven corporate decision-making. We believe that workers’ plans, as an alternative to market driven company plans, are needed if we are to transition production post-pandemic towards a Green New Deal, rather than simply have long term, too often un-met, targets set by central government. Workers developing alternative plans for their workplaces, is a significant concrete means of really levelling up society, through a participatory democracy where the balance of power shifts towards them.
the new website: https://thelucasaerocombineshopstewardscommittee.org/
Part film essay, part documentary THE PLAN tells the story of how a group of unknown British engineers came to be nominated for the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize when they decided to make wind turbines & hybrid engines instead of bombs.
At a time when climate injustice is fanning the flames of inequality THE PLAN looks at how this group of eco-pioneering aerospace workers took control for the sake of the planet. Their heroism has been forgotten but as constant wars and climate crisis proliferate there’s vital lessons to be learnt from their story
Watch the trailer here
“This film captures a unique moment in our history – highly skilled workers showing how to turn swords into ploughshares. If we want to transform society, this is a good place to start”Ken Loach
The Lucas Plan was a pioneering effort by workers at the arms company Lucas Aerospace to retain jobs by proposing alternative, socially-useful applications of the company’s technology and their own skills. It remains one of the most radical and forward thinking attempts ever made by workers to take the steering wheel and directly drive the direction of change. Read the Plan here.
More than forty years after the Lucas Plan — we’re facing a convergence of crises: militarism and nuclear weapons, climate chaos, and the destruction of jobs by automation.
These crises mean we have to start thinking about technology as political, as the Lucas Aerospace workers did.