Don’t let JLR blame Brexit; job cuts are driven by the profit motive.

Today, despite huge profits last year, an increase in Jaguar sales and plans to employ thousands more in Slovakia and China, JLR announced 4,500 job cuts. The media, the trade union leadership and the Labour party all want to join with JLR in blaming Brexit. But that is not even half the story. We reproduce here an article recently published by Birmingham Worker.

JLR, Bentley, Aston Martin and many other big players in the car industry are fighting an anti-Brexit propaganda war, blaming everything on Brexit. If you listened to these powerful giants whose businesses are worth billions you would be led to believe that before the British people voted to Leave there had never been any problems in the car industry! The facts are different. The facts are that there is a huge crisis in the car industry, not because of Brexit, but because of two main factors. Firstly, the manufacturers have made more cars than they can shift.  Whilst the overproduction crisis preceded Brexit and will get worse with or without Brexit, Bentley are not lying when they warn about possible disruption of supply lines, e.g. engines imported from Germany. However, disruptions or no disruptions, there’s too many Bentleys and not enough millionaires to buy them.

Secondly, the large, powerful car producers are constantly looking for excuses and opportunities to outsource jobs and export their capital to foreign countries where labour and costs are cheaper. The manufacturers and their shareholders are motivated by making bigger profits. Just now, having made more cars than they can sell the manufacturers see their opportunity to jump ship and blame it all on Brexit!

In recent years JLR, Aston Martin, Bentley and other manufacturers have made billions of pounds in profit. These companies must not be allowed to throw hundreds of workers who’ve generated these huge profits straight onto the dole. Workers must be kept on full pay and manufacturing jobs protected. Companies who’ve made huge profits must not be allowed to undermine the democratic will of the British people to Leave the EU.

Defend manufacturing jobs

Defend Brexit!

More info on suspected job losses: https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/21/news/ft-leaks-plans-by-jaguar-land-rover-to-axe-5000-jobs/

Brexit Paralysis : https://www.cpgb-ml.org/2018/12/31/news/brexit-paralysis-government-and-opposition-in-a-shambles/

FT leaks plans by Jaguar Land Rover to axe 5,000 jobs

jlr

FT says company plans to axe thousands of jobs in Birmingham area

At the end of November, following a slump in sales, JLR announced job losses at its Solihull plant, following hard on the heels of its move last April to wipe out 1,000 of the total 9,000 jobs. JLR plans to move production of the Discovery to Slovakia, whilst Solihull is retooled to produce electric cars with a smaller workforce.

Worse was reported yesterday when the FT and Guardian announced that insiders had said more than 5,000 jobs are to be axed:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/dec/16/jaguar-land-rover-to-axe-up-to-5000-jobs 

https://www.ft.com/content/c4f06f8e-ff99-11e8-aebf-99e208d3e521

Over at JLR’s engine-building plant in Wolverhampton, weak demand has forced the company to extend the Christmas shut-down by two weeks.

The global overproduction crisis continues to put the squeeze right across  the automotive industry, sparking the beginnings of a workers’ revolt. Over at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant, successive waves of redundancies have seen the workforce shrink from 1,900 to 1,100. In November, when a further 241 redundancies were announced, workers responded with a mass walk-out.

Whilst JLR blames variously the “demonisation of diesel” and Brexit for the company’s problems, the fundamental cause is to be found in the anarchy of capitalist production, which creates regular overproduction crises. This means that capitalism produces far too many things than can be consumed – rather than producing the things which are needed, it produces items for maximum profit. This drive for maximum profit also means that many processes are automated to be carried out by robots – a process which also puts many thousands out of work.

Until the means of production – factories, farms, etc – are socialised, and production is planned to meet people’s needs, not to make private profit, workers’ jobs will continue to be a hostage to fortune, prey to all the vagaries of capitalist ‘free market’ forces.

In the short term, workers must demand that their factory should be nationalised and kept going. If there really is no demand for the cars being produced, the factory should be transformed to produce something that people do need, and workers retrained to make it.

If we are still faced with the problem of ‘lack of demand’ (ie, workers not having enough money to pay for the things they need), then it is clear that the whole system needs to be transformed, not merely a single factory. What kind of insanity is it when the workers who produce all of society’s superabundant wealth are unable to share in that abundance – are unable even to feed their families or keep a roof over their heads?

Only by fighting for socialism can we secure a future of secure jobs, full employment and advancing living standards.

If you work at JLR or want to help the workers there, get in touch with the Birmingham Worker: