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(en) Britain, Anarchist federation journal Resistance #110 - JOBS MASSACRE WORKERS PAY FOR BOSSES' CRISIS

Date Tue, 03 Mar 2009 13:50:05 +0200

As the recession bites, bosses have been trying to keep their profits up as demand falls
by slashing staff and pay, and attacking conditions. The attack has been particularly
brutal in the car industry.The axing of 850 agency workers from the BMW factory at Cowley,
Oxfordshire, has made the headlines recently. The unions stood by and did not hing as the
workers ­whose agency contracts afford them few rights ­ were culled with an hour's
notice. Officials were pelted with the contents of lunch boxes, and cars were scratched
and damaged by workers. Aside from the highly publicised cuts at BMW, workers in the car
industry across the UK have been hit hard. Ford is looking to axe 7% of its workforce,
with half of the staff at its Southampton Transit factory lined up to go.

Bosses are also looking to go back on agreed
pay deals. The factory saw wildcat
strikes last October over cuts, and
the work force being shifted on to a
four day week. Nissan cut 1,200 jobs
last year at its factory in Sunderland,
its most productive site in Europe.
Workers at a car parts factory in Liv-
erpool recently launched wildcat ac-
tion for two days over redundancies,
pay and conditions.
These have been high pro-
file cases, but the picture for workers
is bleak all over. This year has seen
unemployment bite as the recession
intensifies. Official unemployment
is at 2 million, with 4 millionun
employed fore cast for the end of the year.
The high number of claimants ­1.2 million
is causing headaches for a government
desperately trying to finance the banking
bailout. The national debt of the UK now
stands to reach a staggering £2.2 trillion. A
ballooning bill for keeping the millions of
workers surplus to the economy alive is a
serious inconvenience for the government.
That's why they-like the bosses at work-
are trying to make us pay for the cost of the
recession. They are trying to slim the budg-
et of the NHS - which is vital to ordinary
people's quality of life and a concession to
past workers' struggles - in order to pay for
the banking collapse. Though spending is
set for the next two years, failure to adjust
it for high inflation and spending austerity
after that will mean a real terms cut.

The future is only bleak if we let
it be. Though crises like this are part and
parcel of a system as irrational as capital-
ism, which isn't based on humanneeds, we
can defend ourselves against the seattacks.
We makeup society, it's us who make the
economy work, and it stops if we want it to.
We have the power to defend ourselves if
we act together. The refinery workers who
fought for access to jobs are one example
(see our analysis of this struggle on page
6). When workers were laid off at a factory
in Northern Ireland recently they occupied
the plant for 48 hours demanding improved
redundancy terms. They won. By acting to-
gether they turned the tables on the bosses,
who expected them to go home alone and
`think things over.' Instead they showed the
inevitable wasn't so inevitable. It isn't al-
ways easy to take collective action, but it
starts from realising what we have incom-
mon with other workers, and what we don't
have in common with the politicians and
bosses trying to shift the costs of the crisis
onto us. We can't fight back on our own,
but to gether we have a chance.
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