YESTERDAY Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled his new Job Entry Targeted Scheme (JETS) that he claimed will ‘provide fresh opportunities to those that have sadly lost their jobs, to ensure that nobody is left without hope’ for the four million workers being thrown out of work in the coming weeks.
Sunak is pledging £238 million to recruit an additional 13,500 ‘work coaches’ to help those thrown out of work during the pandemic for at least three months, giving coaching advice to the unemployed to move on into ‘growing sectors’ of the economy.
The work and pensions secretary Theresa Coffey went overboard in her enthusiasm, predicting that JETS would help more than 250,000 recently unemployed back into work.
Neither Sunak nor Coffey could say where these jobs would miraculously appear from or what constitutes the ‘growing sectors of the economy’.
The brutal truth is that there are no growing sectors of a British capitalist system that is crashing into the deepest recession since the 1930s.
Research published last week by the employment body Acas found that over a third of UK employers intend to impose redundancies in the next three months, as the government furlough scheme ends on 31st October. It followed announcements by a number of the largest UK companies of mass redundancies – with Royal Dutch Shell and TSB bank revealing 10,000 job losses between them.
They joined airline companies like British Airways and easyJet, along with the entire retail sector and manufacturing industries, in massive job cuts.
A measure of the crisis was seen yesterday when, at the same time Sunak was announcing his JETS plan, the giant Cineworld revealed it is closing all its UK and US cinemas – a move that threatens to bring down the entire cinema entertainment sector.
Despite the Tories’ furlough scheme UK redundancies have risen by the fastest rate since the banking crash in 2007/8. More than 150,000 lost their jobs in the three months up to July with over 700,000 redundancies since March – even under the furlough scheme. When furlough ends, over four million will face unemployment – and that’s according to official estimates.
Sunak’s latest plan is in line with the Tories’ determination to wind up even the partial support for workers while at the same time professing deep concern about the fate of those thrown out of work.
In response to Sunak’s proposed JETS scheme, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady could only urge Tory ministers to ‘do much more to stop people losing their jobs’ and do ‘far more to create new jobs’.
Two weeks ago, O’Grady stood shoulder to shoulder with Sunak praising him for his ‘job support scheme’ that encouraged employers to sack full-time workers and replace them with part-time working and massive pay cuts.
The fact is that bankrupt British capitalism has determined that it can no longer carry on handing out trillions to prop up entire industries and companies that are drowning in debt and don’t make enough profit to even pay off the interest on this debt .
These are the ‘corporate living dead’ or ‘zombie’ companies whose number has doubled in the UK in the past five years – even before the pandemic hit.
The bottom line for capitalism is that the zombies must be culled in order to prop up the banks and large corporations, while the working class pays through mass unemployment and wage cutting.
With the TUC leaders along with the Labour Party leadership desperate to play a role in helping the Tory attempt to keep British capitalism from total collapse, there can be only one way forward for the working class.
These leaders must be removed and replaced with a leadership prepared to lead the fight for a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers’ government that will expropriate the bankers and bosses, and place industry and banks under the control of the working class under socialism.
The WRP is building the revolutionary leadership necessary for this struggle – join today.