YESTERDAY Adams Childrenswear announced that it had closed down 111 of its stores throughout the UK, and that its remaining 160 shops would stay open as the administrators try to sell the company. Adams employs 3,200 people.
On the same day Waterford Wedgwood, made up of companies that have traded for hundreds of years, also went into administration. In the UK it employs 1,900 people.
Meanwhile the final closure of the remaining 200 stores of High Street chain Woolworths is taking place today, the firm’s administrator Deloitte has said. It had 807 outlets. The firm’s collapse left 27,000 workers facing redundancy, with those living in the Channel Islands legally not entitled to any redundancy pay.
This avalanche of closures on the High Street comes after the crash of the world banking system, which is also still continuing, with sections of the banks getting ready to demand a second multi-billion relief package from the Brown government.
Meanwhile, the bosses of the steel and motor car industries are urging the government to bail them out.
In Britain, the Mittal group that own the Corus steel industry, formerly the nationalised British Steel company, are urging the trade unions to accept job cuts and at least a 10 per cent wage cut to prevent total closure.
Mittal’s holdings in the motor car industry, Land Rover and Jaguar are said to need billions of government aid, or else face mass redundancies.
Workers ‘leaders’ such as Tony Woodley of Unite are predicting that unless the government hands billions to the motor car employers, as they have done to the bankers, then the workers face at least 40,000 sackings almost immediately, with Vauxhall Ellesmere Port and GM Luton in the front line of the closures. He refuses to demand the nationalisation of the industry, and confines himself to demanding aid for the bosses.
However, when the Japanese motor car industry, made up of giants such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda, announce that they are no longer making profits, and when the Japanese economy, the second biggest in the capitalist world, announces that production fell by nine per cent in one month, there is no hope at all for British capitalism.
What is required is a programme of action to prevent the threatening capitalist catastrophe of slump, mass unemployment, homelessness and a huge plunge in the standard of living sweeping over the whole of the working class.
Handing billions to the bankers and bosses is just throwing money down the drain.
What must be done is that trade union leaders who act as frontmen for the bosses, must be forced to resign and be replaced by leaders who will fight for socialism.
The trade unions must oppose all sackings and all wage cuts, and occupy plants that are threatened with closure, and demand that they be nationalised under workers control.
The trade unions must set up councils of action to mobilise whole communities to stop the banks evicting workers. They must demand that the whole banking system be nationalised and that mortgage debt be abolished.
There must be a programme of public works to build the millions of council homes needed to end the housing crisis, and to provide jobs for millions of workers and youth, with proper skills training for youth at trade union rates of pay.
There must be a workers government to carry out this programme to lay the basis for a socialist planned economy replacing bankrupt capitalism.
The trade unions must oppose Brown’s attempts to rescue the bosses and the bankers. The trade unions must bring down his government and replace it with a workers government that will go forward to socialism.