Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/189/8066
Vauxhall Luton...Ford Dagenham...Corus Steel...
Stop the bosses' jobs slaughter
"BRITAIN IS working again" says Education and Employment secretary David Blunkett, adding that "jobs are there for the taking". Really? Try telling that to the 2,000 Vauxhall workers in Luton or the 2,600 Ford workers in Dagenham, the 2,000 at BAe or the estimated 30,000 Corus steelworkers facing the dole queue.
These job losses are just the ones that make the news headlines; the TUC says that 10,000 manufacturing jobs a month will be lost this year. And for every job lost in these industries two or three more will be lost in supporting industries.
Blunkett admits "there are fewer jobs in the traditional industries" but claims that "the demand for new skills in new industries is growing rapidly".
Drunk on his own hype he reckons New Labour is likely to achieve full employment. What tosh! The dot.coms of the 'New Economy' have turned into dot.bombs as the speculative stock market shares bubble has burst.
And other parts of the service sector are shedding jobs quicker than you can say "New Deal". The impending takeover of Abbey National will lead to an estimated 4,000 job losses.
But the bigger picture reveals a more threatening future as the US economy - the locomotive of the world economy - moves into recession, with mass layoffs affecting workers there. As the saying goes, when the US economy sneezes, Britain catches pneumonia!
Working-class people are suffering the consequences of a capitalist profit system showing all the symptoms of a major crisis in production. Large-scale manufacturers are cutting back capacity to maintain profit levels to their major shareholders.
The market economy is failing but the government meekly allows the bosses to continue the jobs slaughter. Only socialist measures, such as nationalisation of the big corporations under democratic workers' control and management, can offer a way out of this crisis. But Blair and Co with their millionaire backers are wedded to capitalism.
Trade unionists must rely on their collective strength to defend living standards. That means organising strike action and other forms of industrial action to stop closures and job losses and to link up their struggles nationally and internationally to combat the plans of multinational companies.
But workers also need a political voice - a new mass workers' party - to articulate their interests and to fight for jobs and for decent health, education, housing and transport services.
In the forthcoming general election working-class people can support socialist candidates as alternatives to New Labour, the Tories and Liberals.
Join the Socialist Party and build a socialist movement to end the iniquities of capitalism and to fight for a socialist future
In The Socialist 19 January 2001: