• _90996805_catmokstownCaterpillar projects worldwide profit of almost £1.7 billion this year, received £3 million in NI public funds last year
  • NI Executive must introduce legislation which “restricts profitable firms’ ability to simply throw workers on the scrapheap”
  • “Executive have taken £700 million loan to fund redundancies in the public sector. Why can’t they find money to save jobs for a change?”
  • “The Stormont politicians’ economic strategy of combining austerity for ordinary people with handouts for big business has failed utterly”

Labour Alternative has reacted to the news that Caterpillar is to cut 250 jobs over the next two years, with the likely closure of its Monkstown plant, by calling for the Assembly Executive to take the factory into public ownership and introduce legislation to discourage profitable firms from making large-scale redundancies.

Sean Burns – Labour Alternative spokesperson and a member of Unite the Union’s Irish Youth Committee – said:

“Caterpillar’s move to close its Monkstown plant with up to 250 redundancies is naked profiteering. Despite the global economic slowdown, the company estimated in April that it would make almost £1.7 billion in profit worldwide this year. Only last year, the company received almost £3 million in handouts from Invest NI and government departments here. Hundreds of workers are now threatened with being dumped onto the dole queue, their families facing an uncertain future, to squeeze out a little extra per share for the fat cats at the top. Why won’t the NI Executive introduce the kind of legislation which exists in France, Germany and other countries which restricts profitable firms’ ability to simply throw workers on the scrapheap?”

“The Executive should take the Monkstown factory into public ownership to secure its future, retooling and reskilling if necessary so it can produce socially useful goods. This would be a radical departure from their current economic policy, but the alternative is that these jobs and skills disappear, devastating the community and leaving more young people with, at best, low-paid and unskilled work to look forward to. The Executive has taken a £700 million loan in order to fund tens of thousands of redundancies in the public sector. Why can’t they find money to save jobs for a change?”

“The Stormont politicians’ economic strategy of combining austerity for ordinary people with handouts for big business has failed utterly. The Executive’s magic bullet is to cut corporation tax, transferring hundreds of millions more directly from public services into the profits of big business. Yet JTI Gallaher said corporation tax didn’t enter the equation when they decided to close their Ballymena plant. This policy will do nothing to stem the manufacturing crisis, only attract more call centres at the expense of public sector jobs. We need an end to austerity, which is strangling the economy. We need to tax the bankers and billionaires to fund direct public investment in creating decent jobs, including in manufacturing.”