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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 October 2008

JCB - Why should we accept redundancies and pay cuts?

Workers at JCB's UK factories have voted by a two thirds majority to move to short time working, from 39 to 34 hours a week. This will mean a pay cut of over 50 a week.

A JCB worker

Short time will last a minimum of six months. The ballot conducted by the GMB gave workers two options. Either vote to stay at 39 hours and see 500 redundancies or vote for short time and only 170 redundancies. Death by hanging or the firing squad.

430 jobs have already been lost since August this year. It is not surprising that given these options, workers have chosen to keep their jobs. JCB chief Matthew Taylor said: "The ballot shows the tremendous unity amongst the workforce. They have looked after the needs of one another rather than the needs of the individual".

Many workers asked if the directors were prepared to take the equivalent pay reduction. It seems that the unity does not stretch that far. The result does not reflect the real anger that exists amongst the workforce at having to pay for the present economic crisis with job and pay cuts.

Much of the anger is directed at the role of the GMB. In some cases no meetings were held with the workforce at all. Workers have had no chance to discuss the issues let alone put forward any alternatives to job and pay cuts and in protest many are now saying they will pull out of the union. Demands for the joint shop stewards' committee to stand down have been raised.

The joint shop stewards' committee said it was pleased with the outcome of the ballot. And scandalously it is now calling for the office staff who are salaried and not affected to follow the lead and take a reduction in hours and pay. The situation could worsen in the months to come as manufacturing industry could be devastated by the unfolding recession. What will the position of the GMB be then?

Why should we accept redundancies and pay cuts? JCB has made millions in profit in recent years as a result of the economic boom. Where has all the money gone? Workers at Ford in Southampton and low-paid civil servants are fighting back in the face of the economic crisis. Where there is a fighting leadership workers will feel confident that they can defend themselves against the attacks of the bosses. And real unity can be forged.

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In The Socialist 29 October 2008:


Credit crunch

Worlds apart... in 'them and us' society

Are we heading for a new Great Depression?

Recession getting deeper - 'real world' suffering


Socialism 2008

Time to change the world - come and hear the case for socialism

Socialism 2008 pdf


Socialist Party campaigns

Postal workers march for their jobs

Save our neonatal services!

BP - swimming in oil profits


Socialist Party workplace news

National civil service strike 10 November

JCB - Why should we accept redundancies and pay cuts?

Unite calls off London bus strike


International socialist news and analysis

Israel/Palestine Moving towards a new conflict?

Ireland: Pensioners' revolt - government forced back

Italy: Mass movement to stop education cuts


Car industry

Car industry in crisis: A fighting strategy

Saving jobs at Ford


Socialist Students

Defeat NUS' undemocratic plans

Newcastle University chancellor is out of touch

Fighting cuts at Northampton Uni


 

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