The GMB understands the need for redundancies

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JCB has announced 400 more redundancies, blaming a ‘significant’ reduction in incoming orders.

The redundancies are made up of 297 shop floor jobs and 101 staff posts.

Last month JCB, based in Rocester, Staffordshire, said it needed to reduce its UK shop floor workforce by 510, but that figure was cut to less than 200 after the GMB offered to accept a £50 a week wage cut, and a shorter working week.

About 2,500 members in the UK were convinced by the GMB to accept a 34-hour week by a two-thirds majority and a £50 a week wage cut.

Now the company after gratefully accepting the wage cut, has not just restored the original number of sackings but added to them.

JCB has said it is reducing production at its UK factories by 34% for the last two months of the year and that the revised output levels will be maintained into the first quarter of 2009.

A company spokesman has admitted that this is not going to be the end of the redundancies.

‘If it gets even worse . . . at the end of the day, we will have to take another hard look at that.’

The GMB has reacted to the latest mass sackings by stating that: ‘Only last month JCB adjusted its intention to cut its workforce by 510 at UK factories to a reduction of 332 after GMB members voted for a shorter working week.’

It added: ‘Regrettably, JCB in consultation with the GMB, has announced a further wave of redundancies due to the economic downturn.

‘We recognise the news comes as a major blow to our membership after what I class as a tremendous show of collective unity by all, to reduce our working week to 34 hours, which was by no means an easy decision.

‘Our membership, who I am extremely proud of, have taken this historic stance for the common good and are applauded by the GMB trade union.

‘Unfortunately more of our members will lose their jobs than was originally expected but we can all rest assured that the selfless commitment shown in voting for the shorter working week has, without doubt, saved the jobs of more than 500 GMB members.’

On the contrary, as the economic crisis deepens so will the need for bigger and bigger wage cuts and more and more sackings.

Trade unions were not built to negotiate and support redundancies and wage cuts on the basis that the economic situation for capitalism had taken a turn for the worst.

This is trade unionism on its knees. There must be no wage cuts and no sackings, especially in a period when the cost of living is escalating out of control and unemployment is rocketing to first two and then three million, meaning that there are no jobs for sacked workers to go to.

Union leaders who are willing to work with bosses to make workers redundant and impose massive wage cuts are betraying their members and must be removed from their positions.

As Labour Party reformists they accept that the only possible system is the capitalist system.

From this follows the position that you can only be a good trade unionist when the system is booming.

However, when the system goes into crisis and free fall they believe that trade unionism has to take an unpaid holiday (unless you are an official) and all that can be done is negotiate wage cuts and redundancies, becoming very useful to the employers in that capacity.

This turns trade unionism into its opposite, an instrument for serving the bosses. This type of trade unionism is used by the employers as an agency to convince workers that it is hopeless to fight.

The News Line rejects this yellow trade unionism. We favour revolutionary trade unionism.

Every job must be defended. There must be no pay cuts. Wage claims must be based on a trade union cost of living index and be reviewable monthly. Factories must be occupied to stop their closure, and the whole workers movement mobilised to bring down the Brown government and bring in a workers government that will expropriate the bosses and the bankers and bring in a socialist planned economy.