Vauxhall * Steel * Textiles
Xmas jobs massacre
"THIS COMES totally out of the blue. I'm really upset. We've been bending over backwards to increase productivity. Now what are we going to do?" That was the stunned reaction of Bob Bhungal, a 25 year old worker at Vauxhall's Luton car plant.
Bob and over 2,000 other workers learned on Tuesday that they face the dole after company bosses announced the car factory will shut next year. That blow came after a week of job cuts across Britain. Thousands of workers and their families in textiles in the Midlands, steel in Wales and north east England, engineering, finance and other industries learned that giant companies were sacrificing them on the altar of profit.
Vauxhall is owned by General Motors, the world's biggest industrial corporation. It has ruined Christmas, and the future, for thousands of workers in Luton without so much as a second thought in order to boost its already vast profits. General Motors took its cue from Ford's plan to end car production at its Dagenham plant in Essex.
The Vauxhall closure will devastate Luton and the surrounding area. "It's going to really mess this town up," says Bob. "All the component suppliers will go too. "They promised us work. They guaranteed our jobs. But it has all evaporated now. Big multinationals just do what they want."
The company even told the press of the closure before it told workers. And the timing was callous. "They told us just before Christmas," said one worker. "What sort of present is that?" Many workers fear they won't work again. "I'm angry," said one. "I'm 53. I don't know what will happen to me."
It's long past time our trade union leaders said enough was enough and fought to mobilise resistance to the global corporations, and the New Labour government that praises them.
Protest, strike and occupy