THE DEEPENING of the world crisis of capitalism is driving forward massive job cuts for workers across the world, as manufacturing industry globally faces the biggest crash in its history.
The latest manifestation of this was the announcement yesterday by the UK’s largest car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), that it would run out of parts for its cars within two weeks as factories across China remain closed because of the coronavirus epidemic completely breaking up the supply chain. With three factories across the country JLR produces 400,000 cars a year.
JCB, which manufactures diggers, has been forced to cut production because of the same shortages of components from China, ‘the workshop of the world.’
The crisis in the motor industry is not confined to the UK. Fiat Chrysler last week announced it would shut a plant in Serbia due to missing parts from the country and labour union officials in the US have also said they fear production halts at firms such as General Motors due to shortages.
In Germany, the leading car manufacturer, the industry was in terminal collapse even before the epidemic with Mercedes-Benz announcing in December last year plans to axe at least 10,000 employees globally, taking the number of job losses by the company to almost 40,000 in 2019, as the industry sinks under a massive sales slump.
Audi, which is owned by Volkswagen, is slashing almost 10,000 jobs – 10% of its global workforce. The giant car industry, with its size and global structure, is at the very centre of the world economic crisis of capitalism, with millions of workers’ jobs in all the associated industries facing destruction.
The crisis is being felt across all sections with the banks also being forced to make huge cuts to their workforce.
This week the biggest bank in the world, HSBC, announced it would cut 35,000 jobs in the next three years in a major ‘global shake up’ to save £3.5 billion. According to HSBC this will entail ‘meaningful job cuts in the UK’. The once-mighty German Deutsche Bank is set to axe 20,000 jobs worldwide as it struggles to save itself from complete collapse.
What is absolutely clear is that the defence of jobs is the vital issue for the working class across the world, none more so than in Britain where the fight for jobs is rapidly coming to a head amidst a deep crisis within the leadership of the trade unions.
The spark for this major struggle will be provided by the upcoming ballot for national strike action by the postal workers union (CWU), the results of which are due on March 17.
Late last year postal workers voted by a massive 97.1% for strike action to protect their jobs, conditions and the very existence of the vital postal service.
Immediately Royal Mail managers rushed to the courts who dutifully ruled the strike illegal, forcing the union to re-ballot. In this new ballot it is confidently predicted that postal workers, furious at management’s proposals and angry at the court intervention, will return an equally massive vote for all-out action.
It is also predictable that Royal Mail will once again turn to the capitalist courts to declare it illegal with the Tories preparing legislation to outlaw all-out strikes across every public service.
The question will then be posed point blank that defending jobs and conditions means an all-out confrontation with the capitalist state, its courts and the Tory government.
This will require the mobilisation of the entire trade union movement in a general strike to bring down the Tories and advance to a workers government that will nationalise the major industries and banks, placing them under the management of the working class.
The majority of the trade union bureaucracy will resist this course of action all the way. All the more reason for building the revolutionary leadership of the WRP in the trade unions NOW to lead the struggle for a general strike and a socialist revolution.
Only by the working class putting an end to capitalism and replacing it with a socialist society can jobs be defended from the world crisis that is engulfing bankrupt capitalism.
Only the WRP is building the leadership for this struggle – join today!