FG Wilson saga highlights NI jobs crisis

Events at FG Wilson, are tragic for the workers involved, for their families and for the areas where they live. As things currently stand 760 jobs will be lost and worse may yet come with a FG Wilson insider saying that that "people on the ground believe that over 1,300 employees will have lost their jobs by the end of 2013" (Belfast Telegraph, September 17).

Speaking to a meeting of the Northern Regional Executive of the Workers’Party, General Secretary, John Lowry, stated:

"These events also highlight the insanity of what passes for a jobs policy in Northern Ireland. Between 2002 and 2010 FG Wilson received 25 million worth of taxpayers’ money from Invest NI, during which time the number of jobs at FG Wilson increased by 500 at a cost of almost 50,000 per job. In 2010-11 the company more than doubled its pre-tax profits to 7.8m but it has obviously been calculated that there is more profit to be made elsewhere.

"And what kind of company have we been giving millions of pounds of our money to? FG Wilson is wholly owned by Caterpillar, a multinational company which earned a record $4.9 billion profit last year and projects even better results for 2012, partly by forcing its employees to work for less.

"For example, in its plant in Joliet, Illinois, Caterpillar has successfully foisted a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze on most of the 780 production workers at its factory.

"The Workers’ Party believes that it’s time to face up to the reality that the parties in the Stormont Coalition have signed up to neo-liberal policies which are against the interests of most working people. The Workers’ Party believes that there is much work to be done here and that the state should be in the business of creating stable, flexible employment in order to build the sustainable economy that the future demands. That some are using the job losses at FG Wilson as a means of bolstering their call for a lower Corporation Tax merely indicates the emptiness of their thinking. In order to create jobs and develop NI we don’t need to turn NI into a tax haven. We need instead to create a planned economy which works for the good of our people and not to suit the interests a tiny minority".

Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics