A Wave Of Job Losses
It did not take long for the effects of the credit crisis to begin to seriously impact the real economy in Britain. This week has seen announcement follow announcement of job cuts. The total announced by Friday 14th November of major UK job losses was at least 20,000 with 10,000 of these at British Telecom. This followed announcements by JCB, Leyland, Yell, Virgin Media and Vodaphone. In addition, job losses continue almost unremarked in the construction industry, now spilling over in to supply lines like brick factories. As I was writing news was breaking of further planned job losses in the financial and banking sector - at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The response so far of most of the unions whose members are being affected has not been overly promising. A mood of fatalism and bipartisan "flexibility" can only encourage the employers to further offload the costs of the downturn onto the workforce and consumers rather than their profits, bonuses or shareholders. The time could not be more appropriate for building the necessary links, organisation, strategies and solidarity being advocated by some Trades Councils, the National Shop Stewards Network and the British Isles Regional Organising Committee of the IWW.