Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/557/6617
JCB: Pay cuts haven't saved our jobs!
A further 400 redundancies have been announced at JCB. This brings the total jobs lost since August this year to over 1,000 at its UK factories.
A JCB worker
This announcement comes just two weeks after workers voted to take a £50 a week pay cut by moving to short-time working in the belief that it would save jobs.
JCB insist that some jobs have been saved as a result of the short-time working but many workers will now see that management are using the fear of job cuts to further undermine our pay and conditions. The latest cuts have been blamed on "extreme deterioration in business levels and confidence".
Many workers have been put on regular dayshift hours, losing over £200 a month in shift allowance. We are coming to the end of a two year pay agreement and the GMB should be formulating a claim for 2009. JCB have told us there will be no pay rise for 2009. With inflation running at over 5% this will mean a further pay cut in reality.
We have also lost our Christmas profit-related bonus, which last year was £1,000. When JCB chief executive Matthew Taylor was asked if there would be any more job cuts in the future, he replied: "Not at the current level of business. If it gets even worse than that then, at the end of the day, we will have to take a hard look at that."
In response to this the GMB convenor issued a statement saying: "It comes as a major blow after members voted for short-time to save jobs. Unfortunately, more GMB members will lose their jobs than was originally expected."
The reality is that workers voted for short time because no alternative was put forward by the GMB to fight these attacks. Most workers on the shop floor were under no illusion that the redundancies would stop there.
In a statement about the latest redundancies, JCB said they were retaining 336 shop floor workers, who would otherwise have been at risk of redundancy as a result of reduced production levels in the first quarter of 2009 - in other words we will be over-manned and jobs will be shared until things get better as management see it.
If this is the case, many will be asking why we should accept the bosses' figures, when they declare that orders are down and workers should take cuts.
The GMB should be demanding that the bosses open the books to the union for scrutiny. JCB has made big profits as a result of the recent boom in construction. We should demand that instead of cutting our jobs, hours and pay, we should share out the work without loss of pay.
If any more redundancies are threatened, then we demand that the government step up and nationalise JCB and run it under democratic workers' control and management.
It appears that the recession will not affect companies like BAE Systems. Some JCB workers fearing redundancy have been chasing other jobs for welders and came across an advert by BAE saying "forget the credit crunch. We have work until 2030."
Thing is, this work will be building seven Astute class nuclear submarines for the Royal Navy and a future aircraft carrier and the next generation of submarine development, plus possible work on the Trident programme.
If capitalism is not destroying factories and jobs along with people's lives then it is building weapons that could possibly lead to the destruction of the planet.
In The Socialist 19 November 2008:
No Job Cuts
Post office closures
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis