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Workers dig in for fight over job threat
A JCB worker
News that up to 290 JCB permanent shop floor workers could be made redundant was leaked to media sources on 4 November before the workers themselves were informed.
This is as a result of plummeting global sales of construction equipment and follows the axing of 700 shop floor agency workers since June this year along with 400 staff redundancies.
Many at JCB are saying that this situation is as bad as 2008 when the world economy crashed and thousands of JCB workers were made redundant as a result. Despite this JCB still made a profit of £29 million and has never made a loss since its inception in 1945.
This April JCB announced its second best annual profit margin of over £300 million. From this Tory donor Lord Bamford was paid a dividend of £60 million at the same time as the staff redundancies.
Lord Anthony Bamford and family, who own JCB, are the second richest people in the West Midlands with a stash of £3.1 billion, they come 29th in the Times rich list nationally.
JCB workers are angry that these cuts are taking place when it is obvious that Lord Bamford is drowning in money. The GMB who represent shop floor workers have responded to this situation as they did in 2008 by concession bargaining, proposing ideas that will lead to a deterioration of existing terms and conditions in the hope that this will reduce the number of redundancies.
In 2008 at the suggestion of the GMB, shop floor workers voted to go on reduced hours for six months with a resultant pay cut, believing this would prevent redundancies. It turned out that hundreds more
workers were made redundant after this agreement, meaning workers are now saying they will not fall for it again.
These redundancies can be fought. The GMB should link up with other struggles such as the steel workers who are demonstrating against job cuts and public sector workers like the junior doctors.
There is no need for redundancies. Last week's issue of the Socialist put forward the socialist case for nationalisation of the steel industry outlining the demand for steel in building the infrastructure projects which would also need the machines that are built at JCB.
The call for nationalisation among steel workers has received an overwhelming response. This should be the central demand of the GMB at JCB as the only solution to prevent redundancies.