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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.
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.
- Open the bosses' accounts and let's see where all the profits have gone. No more 'business secrets' which hide big business' huge financial fiddles and crimes.
- The trade unions should demand: Defend our livelihoods! Take all companies threatening jobs into public ownership!
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.
- We say fight privatisation. Bring privatised services back into the public sector under the democratic control of workers and service users.
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.
- End this corporate theft - unions should take action to ensure the state guarantees decent pensions for all.
- Capitalism is a system of exploitation and fraud and financial trickery. Why should workers pay for this crisis? Make the bosses and the rich pay!
In The Socialist 26 July 2002: