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Profit not euro is behind jobs crisis

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Issue 1704

Steel, cars, manufacturing

Profit not euro is behind jobs crisis

EMPLOYERS, POLITICIANS and trade union leaders this week blamed the Euro for the fact that thousands of jobs are under threat. But Britain being outside the European single currency is not the reason millions of people face massive insecurity.

The real reason for the jobs threat is that neither New Labour or union leaders will stand up to the bosses’ drive for more profit. In the last week alone thousands of workers learned their jobs are under threat.

  • Bosses at the CORUS steel works in Port Talbot, South Wales, say the entire workforce of 3,500 could face the dole. They blame the strength of the pound against the euro for “the serious erosion of the competitive position of the group”. More than 1,400 jobs were axed at the company’s plants earlier this month-including 200 at Port Talbot.
  • NISSAN bosses say new investment at their Sunderland car plant is under threat. Nissan employs 5,000 workers at the plant, but thousands more jobs in supplier industries would also go if the plant closed. Nissan bosses say the strength of the pound is “undermining their competitive position”. But Sunderland is already the most productive car factory in the whole of Europe.
  • VAUXHALL’s car plant at Ellesmere Port also has the axe hanging over it. Vauxhall’s British boss, Nick Reilly, refused to guarantee the plant will build the new model of the Astra when he appeared before a parliamentary committee recently.

And the new bosses of the Rover car company look set to make compulsory redundancies, breaking the promise they made when they took over the group. They want to axe 1,000 jobs, but only 300 workers want to leave voluntarily. New Labour’s cabinet is split about the euro, and so are trade union leaders. Some urge the government to join the European single currency fast in order to save jobs. But the euro is no jobs guarantee.

Even the GMB union, whose leader John Edmonds is pro-euro, admitted that this week. And some bosses are just using the pound’s strength as an excuse to win more aid from the government. The argument about the euro is between one set of bosses and another about how best to increase profits.

New Labour won’t fight for jobs. Workers should urge their union leaders to take on that fight instead of siding with one bunch of thieves against another.

  • SOME 500 people marched through Accrington in Lancashire last weekend against local job losses-see page 14.

Recession on way?

THE GMB union says more than 10,000 manufacturing jobs were lost in June. That is 3,500 more than in May. A report by the bosses’ club, the Engineering Employers’ Federation, also warned this week that “manufacturing remains in a very fragile position.” The report also raised worries that a full-blown engineering recession could follow.

Govan petition

SHOP STEWARDS from the former Kvaerner shipyard in Govan, which is now BAe Systems, were to hand in a 70,000-strong petition to Downing Street this week to help save their jobs. BAe says the plant could close if it does not win a new 240 million contract for roll-on, roll-off ferries for the Ministry of Defence.

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