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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