Tata Jaguar is currently being presented as the flagship manufacturing company in the British economy. With profits surging to an unprecedented level with £1.1bn last year and £1.5bn this year, the margins have matched an industrial monopoly with that associated with banks.
The present system of protecting the pecking order of claiming on the social product ensures that the
First claim goes to the owners Tata
Second claim goes to the government in the form of taxes.
Third claim goes to the workers in wages.
Of course this is upside down. The first claim should go the workers who produce the wealth and this includes a claim that all working class people have a right to, regardless of whether they work at Jaguar or not. This company has existed for a long time with investment coming previously to build the company from various from various working class funding through time. Tata bought this company for a pittance and even with the investment at the new Wolverhampton factory will only represent as small proportion of profits.
The second claim should go to the state to fund social programmes such as health and education and support funding of transport and infrastructure and at this time public services. There is a reported £60 million deficit on Birmingham city council, which could be met easily by Tata. Why hasn’t this issue being raised by the negotiators at the current wage claim?
The two-year pay agreement which could mean up to 9.8 per cent extra. The deal covered JLR’s 21,000-strong workforce at Castle Bromwich, Solihull, Gaydon and Whitley in the West Midlands and Halewood on Merseyside. This is comparatively a small amount of workers. The company employs employs a portion of its workforce as temporary workers. Even with suppliers the amount of jobs is relatively tiny compared to the suggested bonanza in employment always talked about when it comes to encouraging investors.
Unite national officer for the automotive industry, Roger Maddison, said: “We have been involved in hard negotiations with JLR’s management. Unite has about 17,000 members at JLR involved in Jaguar and Land Rover production.
The deal will mean a pay rise of 4.5 per cent, plus £500 from 1 November, which equates to 6.3 per cent in real terms for a shopfloor worker at Land Rover.
Other elements of the deal include new starter rates rising from 90 per cent to 95 per cent of the current pay rates, as well as an increased holiday bonus for the summer holiday.
The company only pays a small amount to the city of Birmingham in business rates and should be asked to pay up some more. Workers in the Public Sector are going to be told that they are losing their jobs and all workers, including jaguar workers will be affected by the reduced spending power in the city and cuts in public services carried out under the austerity programme.
When Jaguar was owned by British Leyland a huge amount of tax payers money was poured into the company. Ownership has changed hands at various times since and has maintained the company and built it up. When the company was privatised and later owned by the Ford motor company the Castle Bromwich and Solihull plants were supported by the public sector in terms of infrastructure, roads and railways. This infrastructural support has continued. Many Jaguar cars are purchased in the home market and in particular the West Midlands and Birmingham area. The question has to be asked, why has the Tata Company, who have been given both financial and labour support for the company in the Birmingham area, has not come forward to handover a return to the local economy? Tata is pocketing most of the cash for itself and taking huge amounts out of the British economy and sending most of its stash abroad. Tata, with its minimal “job creation” is in fact getting a massive return on its waged workers and so is taking more than giving.
The basic principle is that, “More should be put into the local economy than is taken out” this principle applies locally and nationally and supports the notion that the solution to the crisis is by restricting the claims on the social product by rich monopolists. Here lies the only solution to the economic problems of recession and is the only alternative to the austerity programme.