Socialist Worker

The jobs slasher

Issue No. 1733

Steel giant Corus was expected to announce 5,000 to 7,000 job cuts this week. The announcement will be made by Corus chairman Sir Brian Moffat (above). His pay packet last year was a basic salary of £477,223, 'benefits' worth £43,009, extra pension contributions of £19,709, and the right to take a profit on 611,000 shares.

It seems certain that the company will cease manufacturing crude steel at the Llanwern plant in South Wales.

Llanwern employs nearly 3,000 workers, and thousands of other jobs are dependent on the steel mill. Other sites that could face closure include Wales's Shotton and Ebbw Vale. Plants at Teesside and Scunthorpe face huge job losses.

Corus is out to slash £500 million from its operating costs and load the money onto profits and shareholder dividends. It has bled the workforce and is now ready to chuck them aside. Until very recently it was making huge profits-over £1 billion in 1998.

There was also a spare £700 million to hand to shareholders when Corus was formed in 1999. The ISTC steel union must start a real fight for jobs.

Britain is more unequal today

Inequality has widened under the New Labour government. According to the latest Social Trends government statistics, between 1997 and 1998 the income of the richest 10 percent of the population rose at more than twice the rate of the income of the poorest 10 percent.

This has widened the gap between rich and poor in Blair's Britain. Studies by Professor Robin Marris confirm this growing inequality. He found that 'well paid people in Britain have more spending power than their continental counterparts, while people at the low end of the income scale are worse off than all except the Italians'.

Financial disaster zones

The Education Action Zones (EAZs) set up by New Labour to allow big business to run schools have been a failure even on their own terms. A National Audit Office report released last week showed that the first 25 EAZs only received 50 percent of the £2.6 million business sponsorship they wanted for 1998-9. The government still announced it is setting up another 14 small EAZs.

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Article information

Sat 3 Feb 2001, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1733
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