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Sign of the times as high street chains go bust

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The last 200 Woolworths stores were closing down as Socialist Worker went to press.
Issue 2133

The last 200 Woolworths stores were closing down as Socialist Worker went to press.

The 27,000 Woolworths workers facing the dole were offered “help” from the “business community” through a website dedicated to finding them jobs.

For a mere £25 the unemployed workers can upload their CV to a website. The service is free for employers to use to find employees.

Woolworths is just one of a growing stream of household names that have gone bust in recent weeks – including children’s clothes retailer Adams, tea and coffee specialist Whittards, entertainment outlet Zavvi, furniture chain MFI and Waterford Wedgewood, the 200 year old fine china and glass manufacturer.

Adams was the largest independent retailer of children’s clothes in Britain. Some 111 of its stores have closed with 850 redundancies.

Up to another 2,500 jobs are at risk as the company’s administrators look for a buyer for the 160 shops still trading for the moment.

Many of the high street firms to fail were relying on Christmas sales to provide a last ditch cash influx to help them avoid administration.

The fact that so many have gone under in late December and early January is a sign of how deep the problems go.

Meanwhile one of the latest jobs wheezes from Gordon Brown is the scheme at Nissan.

The government has handed the company a large sum of money and the workers have gone on a short week.

Unfortunately many union leaders now see this as a model for job protection rather that fighting to stop redundancies and cuts to hours altogether.

The compromises and inadequate schemes just add insult to injury for workers who have worked for years to help generate profits for these companies, only to be thrown on the dole when times are tough.

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