Friday, 15 March 2013
Companies hoarding labour, feature of capitalist crisis?
At present in Britain it is said many companies are hoarding labour power in the hope that the recovery and new growth is just around the corner. This I’m afraid is more wishful thinking than any pre planned economic thought. The fact if they did lay off large numbers of skilled workers they’d have to re train and re employ lots if the recovery did come they fear. Of course we know as Marxists that no such recovery can be seen on the horizon anytime soon. Capitalism can get out of this crisis we often say this is a fundamental crisis of capitalism and the capitalists know no way of getting out of it on the basis of capitalism well I’m afraid they do but it is not something we talk up at all it would be at the crushing of the working class to living standards not even worth thinking of they’d be so low. We are told constantly that employment figures are improving and more are being employed then ever before this flies in the face of the reality on the ground for many whom dead in the labour market day in day out. But there has been a hoarding of labour in this crisis and it is unusual and tricky to explain as you would think big recession biggest crisis in capitalism since the 30’s why are we not seeing mass unemployment way above the 3 million mark as yet ? One explanation for why employment figures are rising as productivity falls is the phenomenon called "labour hoarding", where employers do not adjust the amount of employees they pay, despite fluctuations in economic conditions. Four years ago if you had asked me what would be the level of unemployment under the current economic conditions, I'd have said I'd expect it to be be at least 3 million people. Jonathan Portes Ian Brinkley says such a practice is not a long-term explanation for the recent official figures: "Logically, this phenomenon of "labour hoarding" can only go on for a short time but this has gone on from about 2008 and it's now 2012. So the idea of four years of blaming this on labour hoarding is starting to lose credibility." "The one thing I can think of which could explain this is that we may be underestimating GDP, but it would have to be a significant revision to show that the UK economy has been growing rather than contracting in the first half of this year". Jonathan Portes, director of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, agrees. He told Channel 4 News there are also other factors: "The pace of the fiscal squeeze has slowed somewhat, and it might be that GDP is revised upwards. "Also we've seen employees prepared to accept shorter hours, there've been pay cuts and many people have moved into self-employment. These changes might not be terribly pleasant for individuals but it's better than having an extra half-million people on the dole.” As the capitalists point too. Of course they do not mind mass unemployment as it can help them drive down wages to increase competitiveness in the market. The problems that capitalism faces are all too stark for many today no way out of the nightmare of austerity for many leads to a demoralisation in the working class which we see today with a sense we cant win. This must be challenge at all opportunities. With the huge problems facing capitalism it is often a mystery as to why unemployment isnt higherin Britain than it is for examplein other parts of Europe. This is partly due to government measures bolstering 'zombie' companies. But it is also due to 'labour hoarding', in the false hope that this is a temporary crisis, while cutting workers' pay and conditions. There has been an increase in part-time casual work and people abandoning the jobs search and registering as self-employed. We must fightt o organise te unorgaised and unemployed unions must reach out to those not in work and try to draw them into the labour movemnt as we can affect rael change this way by a collective voice in colelctive actio. What is clear is that the problems of capitalism are not going away anytime soon despite labourHoarding mass unemployment could always be round the corner we must be ready for when mass struggle breaks out. Post April as we enter the new financial year we may start to see bigger redundancies as big busienss starts to see no end in sight of the crisis and begins to panic with still large numbersof labour cots on its books holding back profits. We must point this out and fight back where we can. Only socialist system change can be the answer to our woes. We don’t need a plan B for growth we need a plan S for socialism!