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From The Socialist newspaper, 26 July 2002

Stock market panic: Make The Bosses Pay!

SHARE PRICES on the world's stock exchanges have fallen by 25% in just two months. Rich 'global investors', panicked by big companies slashing their profit predictions, are fleeing to the 'safe havens' of bonds and gold.

But even the system's dodgiest accountants can't pretend that capitalism offers workers a safe haven - let alone a golden one.

Faced with the prospect of either a depression or a devastating slump, the bosses want working people to pay with more poverty and unemployment, while they attack services and pensions.

Jobs

WorldCom, the biggest corporate fraud in history, has become the biggest bankruptcy with 30 billion debts. It has 85,000 employees world-wide. The jobs impact of this latest 'economic correction' will be felt for years to come.

Public spending

All chancellor Gordon Brown's promises of increased public spending could come to nothing if the crisis continues.

Economic forecasters Ernst & Young predict that economic growth will go down to 1.7% this year - further stock market falls could hit growth figures even more next year. The bosses want more 'prudence' and more privatisation. Most extra money will go into private sector profits through privatisation schemes.

Pensions

Employers also want their workers to pay for collapsing share prices through their pensions. Pension funds lost out heavily in recent stock market panics.

Bosses want workers to pay more while they pay less. Millions face a cut in their retirement income of up to 40%. Already steel workers have threatened industrial action as employers ditch their 'final salary' pension scheme, which offered a fixed proportion of their final salary, for gambling schemes which pay according to how the stock market is performing.

The 30 billion 'black hole' in pensions provision is compounded by bosses awarding themselves a pensions 'holiday' by not contributing into their employees' scheme for a year. Workers will suffer lower pensions and/or higher and compulsory contributions to occupational pensions schemes.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 26 July 2002:

'We're Striking Against Low Pay'

Stock market panic: Make The Bosses Pay!

A Turning Point In The Struggle

A New Party Is Needed

Mass Action Against Low Pay And Privatisation

1972 - The Summer Of Discontent

Simpson Puts Spoke In Right-Wing Machine


 

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