Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/656/11139
Jobs massacre at Pfizer
On 1 February it was announced that 2,400 workers at Pfizer's research and development facility in Sandwich, Kent, will be made redundant after the company's decision to close the site completely.
The government claims that the private sector can provide enough employment to compensate for savage cuts in public sector spending. David Cameron commented only a month ago that companies like Pfizer will spearhead job creation.
The closure is being explained largely by Pfizer's decisions to cut costs due to the pressure of drugs coming 'off patent'. This will affect profits as Pfizer's monopoly on producing those drugs comes to an end and generic production can begin.
The patents system allows prices to be maintained at exorbitant levels. When the patents run out it becomes an excuse to reduce the workforce.
Pfizer is the main employer in the town and surrounding area. It is predicted the loss of Pfizer will result in an estimated total of 4,000 jobs lost from contractors and other employers.
This profit driven decision does not reflect a lack of demand for the development of new drugs or research. Generic production will reduce the cost of many drugs and make them more accessible to ordinary people, but that should not take place at the cost of workers' jobs.
The Socialist Party calls for nationalisation of the Sandwich facility. This call must be linked to the demand for the nationalisation of the pharmaceutical industry as a whole, to be run under democratic workers' and patients' representatives' control.
Brighton Socialist Party
In The Socialist 9 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis