Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/229/9229
Capitalist Crisis Worsens: Fight The Bosses' Attacks
THE WORLD'S economy is headed for what could be the biggest recession for half a century. And as usual in a class-ridden society, the bosses are trying to make workers pay for this crisis in their capitalist system.
In Britain an already sickly manufacturing industry has suffered badly. Factory output went down in September by 1.6%, the biggest monthly fall for nine years. Production is now nearly 4% lower than at this time last year.
The manufacturing sector is now deeper in recession than ever, worst of all in the computer and mobile phone makers - hundreds of jobs could disappear at one2one, Britain's fourth largest mobile phone operators. The trade unions should prepare to build resistance to job losses.
Now the problems of manufacturing have reached the service sector. The service industries' output shrank in both September and October, the worst results for at least five years. Already jobs are at risk in the insurance sector.
If you don't believe that this will hit jobs and working conditions, look at what's happening at British Airways (BA).
This giant airline suffered a fall in traffic of a quarter in October. They weren't only affected by the terror attacks in the US but by longer-term problems such as overproduction.
The media pundits only worried about BA's share prices but BA workers have different concerns. Their employers have already threatened them with 7,000 redundancies - many of them planned long before 11 September.
BA also plan to cut the pay of 30,000 workers as a cost-cutting measure. The bosses propose to withdraw the extra one week's holiday pay, due to be paid shortly and to stop the annual increment next year. They hope to save £37 million from this skinflint policy.
Wealthy shareholders won't suffer for long. Neither will fat-cat top managers. They claim that they're taking a 15% pay cut but they already earn far more than ordinary BA workers, some of whom are paid as little as £8,000 a year.
Workers should not pay the price - either in job cuts, living standards or work conditions - for capitalism's problems. Workforces must act in a united fashion to resist redundancies and fight for their jobs and conditions.
Trade Union broad left anti-privatisation conference.
University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1. Saturday 24 November, 11am-4pm.
Registration £5 per delegate to: Glenn Kelly, 37 Linale House, Murray Grove, London N1 7QH. Tel: 020 7251 8449.
In The Socialist 9 November 2001: