AS CHANCELLOR Gordon Brown was praising the achievements of Thatcherism, hundreds of coal miners in the north east of England faced the sack. Private mining firm RJ Budge, which was allowed to buy up coal pits on the cheap by the Tories, announced that it is to close the last remaining working deep mine pit in the north east. Budge is to close Ellington pit, near Ashington in Northumberland, with the loss of 450 jobs.
In 1994 the pit lost 1,200 jobs as the Tories prepared it for privatisation. Budge says the pit is no longer economical. What the coal boss means is that he won't invest the money needed to develop Ellington's coal seams. Ian Lavery, the miners' NUM union branch secretary at the pit, says, 'The men were absolutely appalled at this decision. This will put 450 people on the dole in the run up to Christmas. This area cannot handle redundancies or closures on this scale.'
In some areas around Ellington, male unemployment is at the 50 percent level. There has not been a word from any government minister, many of whom have constituencies in the north east of England, about the pit closure.
On Tuesday alone it was announced that 3,300 jobs were to be cut, including 1,500 at insurance group Prudential, 500 at electrical company Cooper Menvier and another 500 at British American Tobacco.
Profit hit Marks & Spencer axed its contract with Scottish textile firm Daks Simpson, putting 800 jobs under threat.
One thousand bank workers are to lose their jobs in the run up to Christmas.
THE SORT of scams bosses use to make themselves a quick fortune were revealed last week in the Mirror newspaper. Four directors of the giant Tarmac construction firm all suddenly decided to buy shares in their own company within a week of each other. Then, after the shares were bought, the company directors decided to inform the stock market of a massive £1 billion takeover bid. As a result Tarmac's share price rocketed by nearly 43 percent. The four directors then made a handsome profit, raking in £73,717.
Bosses carry on regardless
WHILE NEW Labour tells workers to tighten their belts, bosses have carried on rewarding themselves with bumper pay rises. A new survey has found that executive pay is rising by FOUR times as much as average pay for workers. The report, by Incomes Data Services, revealed that the pay of chief executives rose by an average of 17.6 percent over the last year. Nearly one third of chief executives gave themselves increases of over 20 percent.
Bosses and New Labour tell us that these rewards are because of entrepreneurial skills and enterprise. But the pay of these fat cats bears absolutely no relation to the performance of the companies they run. Bob Ayling of British Airways saw his salary rise by 8 percent to a massive £485,000 a year, but the company's profits fell by 60 percent! Out of 57 companies where profits fell, 32 chief executives gave themselves an even fatter pay package.