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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 April 2008

Why should workers pay for the crisis?

JCB is the world's third largest manufacturer of earthmovers and other machines for the construction and agriculture industry. It employs 8,000 workers in the UK and many other countries. Last year was the best ever in its 63-year history, with record sales and profits.

A JCB worker

Last week we received a statement from management on the current business situation. A single A4 piece of paper went up on a notice board, talking of the 'credit crunch' and how it is slowing down purchases of new machines.

The economic situation is affecting the housing market in Western Europe that JCB is very close to. JCB sales have fallen by 5% in a very short period of time and that as a result the company will be revising its sales forecast for the rest of 2008 for all its business units.

The statement continues saying we need to ensure the business is 'lean and efficient'. It is clear that many workers are going to pay the price for this crisis with their jobs.

Where I work, production is down on what it was a year ago but many workers think that management are jumping the gun and are preparing to shed jobs now in order to ameliorate the worst effects to come.

There are many agency workers. They would be the first to lose their jobs and many full-time workers are concerned that if things get worse they will be facing the same situation.

As yet the statement is the only information we have had. The union has not responded in any way at all. Pressure must be put on the union to organise meetings in order to prepare workers for the battle to save every job.

Also there must be a national meeting of JCB stewards from all of its UK factories to ensure unity and to link up with workers in other JCB plants internationally

JCB made over 100 million profit last year alone, this came on top of many previous years of big profits. We demand trade union inspection of the order books and the accounts. Why should workers have to pay for this crisis? Make the bosses pay.

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