To help their friends in the Conservative Party, Tata, the large Indian conglomerate, owning much of the British Steel industry and Jaguar/Rover, are concealing the fact that they are in deep trouble. The market is falling away mainly because of the China slowdown and crisis.
Already Osborne’s problems in the global economy are wreaking havoc with his growth plans. Redcar is truly a reflection of this but also dependent companies in the supply chain.
Tata is trying to pretend that it is prepared to offer its co-operation by saying that it is switching production demand to serve its car producing interests in Britain. This is at a time at massive cutbacks in its steel plants.
Car component companies like Rolls Royce Engines are to stall as the markets cease up, GKN on the Isle of Wight is one such firm.
Jaguar produces cars at its Birmingham based Castle Bromwich plant and Rovers in Solihull. The Chinese are going to produce their own Rover equivalents in competition.
Jaguar have abandoned production plans in Brazil because of the economic downturn there. They still want to close one factory out of the two in Birmingham.They are going to shift some production to Eastern Europe where labour is cheaper.
John Macdonald in the Labour Party has warned Osborne that the “productivity” cannot be maintained by existing facility alone and that there must be more investment in manufacture to balance and proportionalise the economy. It is falling below the 10% GDP recorded at present. Redcar Steel is a crucial indicator and factor in the economy.
Production of the social product and means of production as well as fundamental raw materials are key growth and wealth creation in terms of adding value.
Jaguar, in support of the Conservatives, are hiding the real situation of overproduction and stockpiling that is occurring already. They have reduced car production from 75 units per shift and there are 3 shifts giving 225 per shift to 30 a day already! This has been a massive cutback in production.
Companies are demanding changes in the negotiations with the EU over the working time directive in particular to be able to squeeze more out of workers at the same time reducing the workforce.
Compulsory overtime and a renewed call to extend the working week on unpaid overtime is to be the new “productivity” focus. This is the scheme being cooked up both at Jaguar and GKN as well as other places. GKN produces components for its Rolls Royce contract. There will be no new investment in manufacturing sectors or facilities. GKN is due to shift production from its Isle of Wight facility to Bristol and Hungary and bring back extended working hours.
Jaguar is compelled to attack the Pension fund and is in talks over it now with Trades Unions and at the same time one third of its workforce on temporary contracts is to be sacked. At the moment Tata is holding back on these issues until after the third reading of the Trade Union Bill. Also new redundancy is being passed and early retirement schedules for next year.
UNITE General Secretary, Len McCluskey, must release information about the actual situation for private sector members soon otherwise it will affect coordinated actions planned around the anti-union legislation due in November. UNITE executive know that there is an existentialist crisis if they do not respond effectively.
The disinformation is being utilised by the Government who are presenting a false record of the economy at present because they know that they are in real difficulties. Debt and deficit are not being sorted out and economic policy is teetering because of renewed global recession. Their Austerity programme is not working as is now being widely acknowledged and their “productivity” talk is very weak and cannot succeed in its present form designed to increase exploitation and make workers pay.
Workers are preparing to defend their unions and require the necessary information so that they can unite in face of the storms to come.