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From The Socialist newspaper, 21 January 2009

Save jobs - nationalise JCB

JCB is making another 700 workers redundant at its UK factories. This is the fourth round of cuts since August 2008 totalling over 1,500. There has been a rolling 90-day consultation period, meaning that the constant threat of redundancies has been hanging over workers since August 2008, with no end in sight.

A JCB worker

We were told that production is 75% down on this period last year and that the priority for JCB now is its very survival. Survival is also a priority for those workers losing their jobs. Many who have previously been made redundant have still not found new jobs.

The GMB union has said that it is looking at all options to challenge this proposed figure. The reality is that there has been no strategy at all put forward by the union that can begin to challenge the job cuts. This has given JCB the confidence to use the threat of job losses to attack our pay and conditions.

Last year, workers voted for a union-proposed cut in hours that meant losing 50 a week in pay, believing it would save jobs. But the majority of the redundancies have been made since the pay cut. Nationally JCB is saving something like 250,000 a week on the wage bill as a result of the pay cut. It seems that some of the money saved is being used as redundancy pay for those losing their jobs.

We were due to negotiate a pay rise for 2009. This has been scrapped. The times for some of the jobs have been cut, making workers work harder to meet targets. Management are now picking and choosing which day workers will have off due to short time working. This means we can be told not to come to work at very short notice and to turn up on some other day that suits the workload.

JCB will continue to attack our pay and conditions as long as there is no opposition by the union. JCB is owned by Anthony Bamford who is a member of the Tory party and has made many large donations to the Tories in the past. His latest donation was 21,000 towards the end of last year. It may not seem a lot but it still sticks in the throat of the workers losing their jobs.

The GMB convenor made a statement about the latest job cuts, referring to the continuing short time working, saying: "The joint shop stewards committee for JCB UK remains extremely proud of this sacrifice and the professional attitude of all those affected."

JCB and the GMB continue to claim that jobs are being saved as a result of short time working. If JCB survives - and there is no guarantee it will - what will the next statement claim?

The government are throwing more money at the banking system to ensure its survival. If it can bail out the banks then it can bail out JCB. The only way to ensure its survival is to nationalise JCB under democratic workers' control and management.

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In The Socialist 21 January 2009:

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Egypt: Gaza conflict fuels anti-Mubarak opposition

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Wirral anti-cuts campaign

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Fighting the cuts in Greenwich

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