More redundancies in the Midlands: Rolls-Royce and JLR

The world crisis of overproduction is far from over.

Proletarian writers

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Workers at the Jaguar Land Rover Solihull plant

Proletarian writers

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In mid-June aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce announced plans to cut 3,000 more jobs in Britain, mostly in middle management. Half of these are expected to go by year end, with Derby hit the hardest.

Unite’s response to this latest blow to employment in the Midlands has so far been limited to some handwringing from assistant general secretary for aerospace Steve Turner, lamenting: “There is a real danger that Rolls-Royce will cut too deep and too fast with these jobs cuts, which could ultimately damage the smooth running of the company.”

Turner added that Unite would be “seeking assurances on no compulsory redundancies from Rolls-Royce”, along the lines of a deal struck a year ago.

But CEO Warren East is not ruling out compulsory redundancies this time around, and it sounds like the carrot of juicy voluntary redundancy packages is going to be increasingly supplemented with the stick of mass sackings.

Might this not be a good time to consider ‘damaging the smooth running of the company’ and fighting back? (Rolls-Royce to cut 3,000 jobs in UK by Julia Kollewe, The Guardian, 14 June 2018)

Meanwhile, back in April, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) revealed plans to axe 1,000 temporary contract jobs in its Solihull factory, one in ten of the workforce there.

JLR, which is owned by Indian company Tata, blames Brexit and new rules on diesel emissions, but at root it is the global overproduction crisis that underlies the 26 percent drop in the company’s UK sales and the 16 percent drop in European sales in the year to March.

Further hundreds of jobs at Solihull are now under threat after the announcement in June that all production of the Land Rover Discovery model is to be transferred to a plant in Slovakia. (Jaguar Land Rover to cut 1,000 jobs after UK sales fall by Camilla Hodgson, Financial Times, 13 April 2018 and Jaguar Land Rover to move UK production of Discovery to Slovakia by Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, 11 June 2018)