Thousands of people have been thrown on the scrap heap in December and January by companies cutting jobs and going into administration. Retail workers – mostly female and young workers on the lowest wages – have been hit hardest. Many more workers feel under threat as never before as the austerity policies of Westminster and Stormont drag the economy towards a return to recession.
The £4.3 billion cuts the Assembly parties are implementing will destroy 40,000 jobs in the public sector here and devastate vital services that we all need. But they will also have a direct effect upon the private sector by squeezing the spending power of ordinary people that retail and service sector rely upon. With real unemployment standing at 13% already – and over 20% among young people – a social crisis is looming if the politicians get their way.
When the financial crisis struck, the Westminster government fell over itself in its rush to bailout their banker friends to the tune of hundreds of billions. But when ordinary workers are faced with losing their jobs, the bosses aren’t asked to ‘share the burden’ with them!
Companies who threaten to throw workers onto the dole should be taken into public ownership without compensation to the bosses. All the jobs in such companies should be guaranteed. Rather than being run by fat cats on high salaries, they should be put under the democratic management of the workforce.
Launch a public job creation scheme
The Assembly’s attempts to lure investment from multinational companies by handing out huge subsidies has never worked, and will fail completely in the midst of the economic crisis. Neither will a cut to corporation tax. Invest NI should be scrapped and a public job creation scheme launched in its place. Such a scheme could create thousands of decent, socially useful jobs. This could be used to improve health, education and other public services, our infrastructure and to develop manufacturing.
How should such a scheme be funded?
All the Assembly’s PFI/PPP privatisation schemes should be scrapped and the £10 billion ring-fenced to fund them pumped into the public sector. All subsidies to big business should be ended. The £420 billion the super-rich avoid paying in tax every year should be aggressively pursued. The banks should be taken into genuine, democratic public ownership and their capital used to invest in society, not speculate on the markets.
If you agree, join the Socialist Party today!