Staff at ASDA in Queslett, Great Barr, are fed up with the imposition of “scan and go” machines, taking the place of the usual checkout tills. Where once there were 31 manned tills, there are now only 20, and workers fear that up to a dozen jobs may go by February next year.
As well as the threat to jobs in an area of very high unemployment, staff also complain that the “scan and go” machines will disadvantage users who cannot supply an email address, particularly the elderly and children.
The enterprising workers have taken their case onto the streets, plastering “Save Our Jobs” posters on bus stops and lamposts in nearby streets and asking customers to boycott the new machines. As well as trying to cut costs by substituting robots for wage-earners, bosses are also sweating the remaining checkout workers harder, demanding that staff should scan 22 items every 60 seconds!
Bosses blame a competitive retail market for making these cost-cutting measures necessary, but why should workers pay with their sweat and their jobs to preserve the profits of capitalism?
So long as the means of production are privately owned, automation is a constant threat to workers’ job security.
Birmingham Worker supports the fight of the Asda workers for jobs and employment. Workers must make it difficult for employers to implement measures which put profits before people.
Under a planned socialist economy there will be full employment, nobody will be denied the right to perform some useful work for society. In such a system of economy automation can lighten the burden of labour and free workers up for other useful and interesting kinds of work. That is why we should fight for socialism and bring an end to the anarchy and chaos of capitalism.