Socialist Worker

Activists organise resistance amid unemployment horror

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2725

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is fighting to protect bosses not workers

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is fighting to protect bosses not workers (Pic: HM Treasury/Flickr)


Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pro-business measures will not stop millions of people facing the threat of mass ­unemployment this autumn.

Sunak announced the £238 million jobs entry targeted support (Jets) scheme at the Tory party virtual conference on Monday. 

It will provide coaching on how to write CVs and give interviews to workers who have been unemployed for at least three months. 

Sunak claimed, “Our unprecedented support has protected millions of livelihoods and businesses since the start of the pandemic.”

But he warned, “I’ve always been clear that we can’t save every job.” 

Hundreds of thousands of people cannot find jobs because of Tory policy—not individual failings around CV writing or interview skills.

Big business is determined to protect its profits and make working class people pay for the coronavirus crisis. 

A new coalition of Labour MPs, trade unionists and campaigners are organising a “fightback to demand ordinary people won’t pay for the crisis”. 

The People Before Profit group launched the emergency programme for jobs, services and safety on Tuesday of last week. Left wing Labour MPs John McDonnell and Bell Ribeiro-Addy were among the speakers ­demanding a ­socialist response to the ­coronavirus crisis.

Resisting

McDonnell told the meeting that “we need an emergency programme and to start resisting” to face the “health threat and the threat to jobs”.

McDonnell slammed Sunak’s plans to axe the furlough scheme as “brutal” when “we’re on the edge of a major recession”. 

The government’s new job retention scheme leaves millions of workers facing mass unemployment after furlough ends on 31 October.

“We’re demanding the furlough scheme is extended for at least 12 months,” said McDonnell.

He backed tax rises “on the top 5 percent” and argued support for corporations should have conditions, including “no dividends payments, and, if necessary taking a public stake”.

The programme also demands “an immediate programme of green investment” to “end depen­dency on fossil fuels and provide a million climate jobs”. 

And it says we need to re-purpose “industries like aviation, car production and engineering to urgently address the climate crisis”.

The whole programme could be paid for through “a massive transfer of resources from the rich”.

People Before Profit has set up local launch meetings and days of action for workplace safety and jobs on Friday and Saturday. 

It plans a further day of action on 31 October, when the furlough scheme ends.

Go to People Before Profit on Facebook and peoplebefore-profit.com for more information 

Bosses launch cuts

More than a third of businesses plan to slash jobs this autumn, according to a survey published last week.

Around 60 percent of managers from firms with more than 250 workers said they planned redundancies this year. 

And some 37 percent of all managers said they were likely to lay off workers by the end of the year.

In a warning of the carnage that is to come, Cineworld announced last weekend that it will shut its US and British cinemas. This puts 5,500 workers at Cineworld and Picturehouse cinemas out of work—as well as cleaners and security staff employed by subcontractors. 

Meanwhile, the number of Universal Credit (UC) claims rejected because people had too much money in savings was ten times higher in March 2020 compared to last year.

Around 6,300 claims were closed before any payment—up from 610 in March 2019—according to figures obtained by the i newspaper last week.


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