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Job losses expose Manchester's 'boom'
AFTER FALLS in sales and profits, the Co-operative group are to cut 600 jobs at their head office. These job losses follow the loss of 2,500 jobs in its banking outlets.
Hugh Caffrey, Manchester Socialist Party
Locally this follows Virgin Megastore shutting its city centre store and firing all the workers. Manufacturing in the area has been decimated with closures at Boddingtons, BAE and in the plastics industry. There have been 100 redundancies at Trafford council, and of course there's the civil service jobs massacre.
The fall in profits of major chains like JJB and Morrison's is forcing city centre retail workers to work extra hours, while not replacing staff who leave.
The general crisis across the retail and service sector will hit Manchester especially hard. An enormous expansion of these jobs in the last few years has partially hidden the real cost of the loss of the north-west's industrial base. Much of the region's economy now relies on the continuation of Manchester's 'boom'.
Some boom. Living conditions, life expectancy, health problems and alcohol/drugs abuse remain some of the worst in the country. Suicide rates for young men remain some of the highest. While the city centre glitters 24/7, many of our communities are fraying at the seams, with another round of shootings in Wythenshawe and elsewhere.
Cuts to incapacity benefit could affect 1 in 7 of working-age people in Manchester. They claim this will help disabled people get back into work. Then why are they letting Remploy, which employs disabled people in manufacturing, go to the wall with hundreds of jobs and job opportunities lost in a few years?
Lay-offs at a time when fewer alternative jobs are available will force workers to defend their jobs. Among these will be many part-time, temporary and agency staff, as well as students. It's vital that workers organise now to defend their jobs and conditions, in preparation for the battles ahead. Socialist Party members in several workplaces in Manchester are helping young and older workers organise to fight for their rights.
In The Socialist 2 June 2005: