Ford Plans More Layoffs

January 29, 2006

On January 23, Ford Motor Company announced that it will close down 14 plants and eliminate 30,000 jobs (nearly 25% of its North American workforce) over the next few years.

Ford's announcement came on the heels of similar mass lay-offs by General Motors. Over the last 5 years, Ford, GM and Chrysler have eliminated or announced plans to eliminate 86,000 jobs.

These massive layoffs violate Ford's contract with the UAW which commits Ford to a moratorium on plant closings. In addition, the layoffs came less than a year after Ford forced its workers to accept $850 million in health care cuts on the promise of saving jobs. Ford is expected to seek even more wage and benefit concessions from workers in next year's contract.

Over the last 2 years Ford has grabbed nearly $400 billion in revenues and $5.5 billion in declared profits (plus billions more in executive salaries and expense accounts, interest payments to other capitalists, etc.).

Ford "justified" these layoffs with the standard capitalist line about "high labor and health care costs," the need to "maintain competitiveness" and "restore profitability." Along with the monopoly-controlled media, the capitalists seek to create an atmosphere in which such job cuts are considered, perhaps unfortunate, but a part of life about which nothing can be done.

But these layoffs mean that tens of thousands of workers and their families will lose their livelihoods. Workers will lose their health insurance; families will lose their homes; daughters and sons will be forced to drop out of school, etc., etc. All so that Ford can increase its profits.

Yet more. As every worker knows, in cutting back on its workforce, Ford will, at the same time, intensify the exploitation of the remaining workers. The layoff of some workers always means job combination and speed-up for those who stay on the job.

The workers, at Ford and throughout the country, cannot afford to accept the state of affairs in which their livelihoods can be wiped out whenever the capitalists see fit. At every factory and workplace, the workers have to continuously struggle against job combinations and speed-up as well as against layoffs. In addition, workers must come into the political arena to wage a generalized struggle to win ironclad guarantees for job or income security.

The root problem is that under the capitalist system, the capitalists monopolize the tools of society - the means required by society and every individual to secure a livelihood. By converting the social property which belongs to everyone into their own "private" property, the capitalists effectively enslave the workers, making our very livelihood dependent on the capitalists' profit-making needs. This situation must be changed. The tools of society must be used, in the first place, to guarantee the livelihoods of the laboring people.