Socialist Worker

Profiteers are on the rampage

Issue No. 1768

BOSSES around the world are using the crisis caused by the destruction of the World Trade Centre to push through massive job cuts and make even more profits. Around 100,000 jobs were cut in the US and British airline and aviation industries in days.

Minolta, the electronics company, announced it was cutting about 10 percent of its workforce just as there were warnings about a global slowdown in the information technology industry. Minolta is set to sack over 2,500 workers. Corus is making job cuts in one of their Dutch steel plants, but would not rule out staff cuts here.

Motorola is planning to get rid of 800 more jobs in the UK after announcing job cuts of 2,000 earlier in the year. The steel and iron workers' ISTC union says the axe will fall on at least 500 workers at Motorola's Swindon plant. Viasystems, in north Tyneside and South Shields, has called in the receivers and betrayed its 1,600 workers, who are now facing the dole. Viasystems workers had already taken pay cuts and seen 900 job cuts only a month ago.

The job cuts are not just confined to manufacturing. Information technology company Fujitsu has also announced jobs are to go in the UK. At the same time internet firm Lycos is to cut 300 staff, a quarter of its workforce. 'I think the market overall is bracing itself for higher unemployment,' admitted Robert Streed, portfolio manager of Northern Select Equity Fund. A German economic think tank is predicting the loss of 100,000 jobs, with banks and insurers the hardest hit. But it tried to blame the cuts on recent events in the US.

However, profitable companies are at the forefront of the jobs attack. In the financial sector around 700 workers at the Alliance and Leicester bank are threatened with job cuts. Bank workers, members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) , are being balloted for industrial action. The CWU declared, 'We believe the bank has come up with a kneejerk reaction to uncertain markets. Given the company profits, there is no need for these sort of measures.'

Construction company Carillion, formerly known as Tarmac, is throwing 400 workers on the scrap heap. This profiteering company is raking it in. Carillion has £4.7 billion worth of orders from Labour's PFI privatisation plans for public services. The BBC axed 160 jobs in the factual and learning department.

Figures from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) on 13 September suggest that unemployment in Britain is no longer falling, but rising. The LFS counts the number of people seeking employment, not just those registered unemployed.

A sign that the economic slowdown was already taking place before the events in the US comes from commentators in the Guardian, who reported: 'As many as 20,000 jobs are already estimated to have been lost in the financial district. Firms are notoriously secretive about admitting they have so little business that they need to let their highly paid bankers leave.'

The director general of the bosses' British Chamber of Commerce pleaded with the government to stop the upgrading of the minimum wage by 40p that is going through next Monday. By announcing job cuts now, bosses aim to stifle any opposition to their agenda of wage and job cuts.


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Article information

Features
Sat 29 Sep 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1768
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