Analysis

‘Tory tsunami’ of job losses begins. If you’re not in one, join a union

A ‘Tory tsunami’ of job losses has begun as the government fails to take steps to protect workers as the Tories hurry the UK out of lockdown.

After taking credit for financial measures that were forced upon them by unions and a Labour Party then still led by Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and his Chancellor Rishi Sunak have already started cutting working people loose, beginning with a decision to cut support through the ‘furlough’ scheme while many businesses are still unable to trade effectively because of the coronavirus crisis.

At the same time, some large companies are exploiting the crisis to force through job cuts.

Unite’s Howard Beckett, who played a leading role dragging Sunak kicking and screaming into taking action to protect jobs at the start of the lockdown, summarised some of the worst scenes so far of what he has termed a ‘Tory tsunami’:

The list is far from exhaustive, but includes British Airways’ plan to ‘fire and re-hire’ tens of thousands of staff on far worse terms as well as to make around 13,000 workers unemployed.

Sunak’s capitulation to the Labour-movement plan that Beckett spearheaded in March shows that jobs can be protected if there is the political will to take the steps to do so. It also showed how important unions are and why each working person needs to be in one.

But Johnson’s and Sunak quickly showed their weakness and real loyalties, as their promise at the beginning of the lockdown to do whatever it takes to protect workers and businesses quickly morphed – without significant challenge from the media – into ‘we can’t save every job and business’.

They could, if they chose to, do far more than they are doing.

Unite and other unions will be fighting the job cuts – whether forced on companies by Tory feebleness or imposed by exploitative companies. If you’re not already in a union, find out which one best represents the work you do – and join one.

The more people are in unions, the more powerfully they can protect their members and society.

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14 comments

  1. Best advice ever: join a Trade Union. I maybe consider leaving the Labour Party if things don’t improve, but I would always be a member of a trade union.
    If you are in low pay and unskilled work, paying Trade Union’s levies could be seeing as an expensive exercise, but it is worth every penny, if you aren’t member of one already join today.

  2. As was predicted, an unprecedented increase in unemployment because of a totally unnecessary closing of the majority of the economy. The increase in the loss of jobs, small, medium and large businesses closing will see a dramatic increase in homelessness, poverty, the use of food banks and an overwhelming burden on social services.

    1. Indeed – a bit slow is SB. That’s how notional modelled ‘R’ numbers rot the brain – and divert from reality. This could have been seen coming three months back No surprise at all, and the last thing an intelligent socialist would do is encourage the deliberate buggering of the economy on the basis of a fairy story – whether by establishment incompetence or establishment cynicism.

      Of course you need to join a union if you want to have any hope of rescue. But it’s a bit late to start shouting that when the damage has been done. And the education unions, for instance have gone along with the nonsense of school closures perpetrated by the government, when there is clearly minimal danger in operating normally if heed is paid to the evidence. I know that the privatisation of schools has robbed the profession of much quality leadership – but this is pathetic.

      Anyone actually living (as opposed to just serving time) on this planet could foresee where backing all the exaggerated Covid hype would lead. The ‘economy’ isn’t just about corporate financial interests – it’s what puts bread on the table for people before you get into debates about the distribution of the proceeds and inequalities etc.

      It’s a bit late to start whining when the problems accruing from the barmy Covid untargeted measures of Lock-Up and unfocused distancing in dealing with a mild virus can be seen just outside your front door. How the fuck *do* you think, for instance, restaurants, pubs, arts and entertainment enterprises – just for starters – can survive with no punters coming through their doors?

      Have you really been so dozy as not to see those Amazon and Microsoft advertisements making hay out of their opportunities whilst those on furlough live in a dreamland of a summer break before the real storm comes?

      And is the country going to be shut down again every four or five years when some other viral event crops up? The state has seen how easy it is to scare people witless.Do you think the psy-ops lessons haven’t been learned for future use – even if one of those lessons is that getting up a gum tree is easier than getting down?

      You ain’t seen nothing yet.

      1. “Of course you need to join a union if you want to have any hope of rescue. But it’s a bit late to start shouting that when the damage has been done”

        Lest we forget LP, ‘left’ and unions all called for more and deeper ‘lockdown’/shutdown whatever you call it…

        I’m not as hopeful about unions as many, not unless members can somehow force major changes and after watching what happened in LP under Corbyn, who had big membership support, I have little hope that members can influence the direction unions take. Union leaders are as self serving and short sighted as MPs all working in corrupted systems that reward compliance or what’s cynically named compromise which = ‘the lesser evil’ of only options put on the table.. who is thinking outside the boxes put before them?

        I am more concerned about ever getting out of this shutdown, never mind future ones, which will be easy due to changes to laws, powers, precedents set and social training based on little more than media fear to comply to ‘stay safe’ in a threat of a ‘killer virus’ etc.

        I remain pessimistic the collective ‘left’ has anything of real and substantive value to offer as major financial, economic and ‘security’ (spying, tracking) and data harvesting systems are being reconfigured in front of our eyes and the ‘left’ dances and whinges on the head of a pin about Johnson regime puppet show not doing ‘enough’!..

        The cost of shutdown is starting to be revealed not just in inevitable job losses, SME’s being wiped from the economy and massive wealth transfer but in backlog of health problems that have been sidelined or ignored to ‘save the NHS’! Cancers, heart problems, psychological issues and many other major health issues will probably amount to far more untimely deaths and of younger people than Covid.

        How many are going to repeat the heinous, immoral, narrow minded words of that soulless, self serving **** Albright… ‘the price was/is worth it’?

  3. I’m no fan of unions when it comes to affiliation and the block vote, but when Labour is just a pale shadow of the Tory party – yeah, join a union and get militant.

    1. I think the unions will have their work cut out acting alone – if they do that, I think ‘divide and rule’ will beat them.
      Acting together and with mutual support between unions and as many SME’s as can be persuaded of the very real danger from out-of-control disaster capitalists and acquisitive global corporations, something substantial might be achieved despite Starmer and Labour Lite.

  4. I was reading a report recently that investors would be wise to treat the pound has a developing countrys currency much like Turkey or SAfrika.The fluctuations in the last 4years against the dollar and the euro and most other currency puts it in the 3rd world..I would be interested to understand just were this government has led us in the economic prosperity,and employment law.My best guess would be 3rd world economics and employment practices,the list is endless and with no opposition its here to stay.We need to get behind the union’s and isolate the knight led Labour party.who are Tory enablers and anti union..We have a chance to take the fight by the old traditional route a United working class movement of organised Labour….Not the abstaining back stabbing Labour party.

    1. Spot on!

      THIS now is the issue on which Sir Nicely Nicely will show his true colours. Party members will see if his ‘cooperative’ opposition is true to Labour values, or, indeed if Trilateral invitee Starmer is indeed another billionaires-friendly Blair.

      30% cuts, austerity on steroids, massive under-development by businesses and government, Sir Erik has some difficult choices to make.

      The party membership is watching

  5. All very well, Skwawky, recommending that as many workers as possible should join a trades union ASAP , as the capitalist system globally, not just in the UK, inevitably soon goes into a worse systemic crisis than both the 1930’s or the 2008 Financial Crashes. So say all of us. BUT this coronavirus lockdown-led new economic crisis is occurring in a global system that was already locked into a permanent global crisis of low growth and low profitability following the financial sector-led Great Crash of 2008. So will a trades union movement which is led , with a very few honourable exceptions, by huge salaried , self-satisfied, cowardly, TU bureaucrats, who, from the personal safety of their golden pensions and jobs for life , have signally failed to lead ANY real working class fightback against the last ten years of Austerity, do this vital mobilising job ? No they won’t. Not a chance. The trades union bureaucracy’s main social function is, and always has been, to work entirely within the confines of the existing status quo, more as a ‘capitalist labour supply facilitator’ than as any sort of radical organiser of even vaguely radical change. These bureaucrats are too captured by the possibility of a seat in the House of Lords, or even a Labour Parliamentary seat, if they ‘behave themselves’ and stay loyal to the status quo, to organise any radical defence campaign against the truly epochal mass unemployment and destruction of workers rights that the super-Austerity to come will entail.

    So with a Labour Party firmly back , permanently, in the politically dead hands of the treacherous Tory-lites around the Trilateral Commission’s creature, Starmer, and the rest of the corrupt careerists of the PLP, that political avenue to organising effective resistance is dead . And anyone who really expects the fat cat bureaucrats of the TUC to organise mass shop floor resistance simply hasn’t been following events ever since the betrayal of the 1926 General Strike and onwards in every major confrontation with the status quo ! If the radical, racist, populist Far Right aren’t going to be the deeply divisive mass political force that grasps the opportunity for radical ‘anti establishment’ mobilisation (of the still huge poorer white working class – yep there still is such a distinct self-identifying subsection of the proletariat , Left Liberals) , it is up to the Left to grasp the reality that the Labour Party is dead as a vehicle for any radical change or resistance, and build a new radical socialist party that doesn’t sneer at the millions of working class voters we lost in our heartlands , not only in 2019, but over the last neoliberal era of Blair/Brown too, but grasps their real legitimate concerns and the impact of the rampant neoliberalism of the last 30 years on their lives, and offers socialist, not wishy washy, empty sloganized Left Liberal, solutions to their continuing, and soon to worsen much further, plight.

    Given the current overwhelmingly disastrously Left Liberal, middle class, identity politics infused so-called ‘Left’ in the UK, this is a very tall order. But expecting the TU bureaucracy itself (rather than the trades union rank and file – organised autonomously by both socialist politics and organisation into militant workplace-based organisation within each trades union) or the totally corrupt and organisationally rotten Labour Party to be any sort of ‘Leadership’ of the coming fightback is a recipe for a complete betrayal of the needs of the times.

    1. As usual, an essay-length contribution from bad penney, full of narcissistic I-told-.you-so smugness, but ZERO positive suggestions for where we go from here.

      Back in the wank closet with you and your copy of Spiked! Arsehole.

  6. Sooner I hope, rather than later, it will become obvious that restart funding is required if recovery is to happen in weeks or months instead of years or not at all.
    Fuck the debt, get the economy going as soon as it can be done.
    Let ‘investors’ carry the weight for a change.

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