Ireland: Visteon - IRSP accuses politicians of evading responsibility

“The factory should be nationalised under workers’ control. But that would be too radical a step for any of the parties in Stormont already committed to administering the neoliberal economic policies of the pro-business Brown Government in Westminster.”

visteon-irsp-accuse-politicians.jpgThe IRSP last night [April 7, 2009] accused local politicians of rerouting responsibility regarding the investment and manufacturing crisis in the North of Ireland.

The IRSP Employment spokesperson Sean White, told activists last night that it was easy to blame a global economic crises or credit crunch rather than blame the companies and bankers who intentionally created the crisis; a crisis created in the interest of profit.

The current economic situation may be global; but the loss of jobs locally is a consequence of the Stormont Programme for Government with its dependency on inward investment. Job losses are the result of policies in favour of the employers whilst ignoring the needs of workers.

The long-term needs of the workers were known at Visteon UK when Stormont was subsidising the profits of its directors.

Sean White went on to say; “there is no ‘natural’ order to the economy. There are no innate, static laws overriding economic behaviour. It is a myth to say nothing can be done. What is termed the ‘economy’ is the way people work, to produce goods and services, and then decide how, where when to sell or use what they produce. People decide rightly or wrongly. It is people who make success, make mistakes. It is people who gamble for profit. It is people who exploit other people. We must move away from treating the economy as if it is a fluke in the weather.”

All economists know that recessions and inflation don’t just happen. They are caused. The Banks deliberately restricted the flow of currency; that is a fact, a fact not disputed by the Bankers. Bankers were aware that a restriction of currency gives way to a recession.

The Banks responsible for investment have so far ignored the pleas from the First Minister Peter D. Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness. On the 16th December 2008 the First Minister Peter D. Robinson MP MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness and their Executive colleagues Nigel Dodd and Arlene Foster today met with the Chief Executives of local banks to explore further initiatives to ease the impact of the present economic downturn on consumers and businesses. To date there has been no response.

Who governs? The Banks or the elected representatives?

The IRSP are asking whatever happened to the billions investment promised to create new jobs in current industries. This time last year $750million was promised for investment in current industries. The investment was announced on the 7th April 2008, by William C. Thompson Jr. Comptroller of the City of New York, who is Chief Investment Advisor of the New York City Pension Funds which currently hold assets of $110billion. A small number of people made decisions regarding how this money was used or if it was used. The IRSP believes that the Irish people deserve answers.

Companies are downsizing or closing as a consequence of poor investment. Of course there is the immediate response car sales are down by an average of 33%, but remember in generic terms profit averages 40%. Decreases in profit are compensated with job losses and cuts in labour; in turn increasing the workload on workers. There is no evidence of any major investment outside of construction. But there is evidence that the Banks responsible for investment paid increased bonuses to their Directors.

Trans National Companies here are not facing unreserved profit loss. TNCs require extensive returns; not marginal profit. The reported losses of Visteon UK are percentage falls in profit. However, such profit is not great enough for TNC investment.

Visteon UK's reported losses totalled £669m. However in the West Belfast section of the company administrators found no evidence of any losses. According to the IRSP spokesperson there is not a single component produced by Visteon that we cannot match in terms of a nationalised industry.

Different members of the Stormont Government have come out with statements in support of workers who face job losses. But they place no blame on the employers. There is an illusion that Stormont cannot and does not want to interfere in free-market capitalism. An illusion partly created by the first and second ministers when they visit the US with their begging bowls and partly the Programme for Government. They over emphasise no government interference.

In fact, without Stormont with its inward investment policies, TNCs could not exist at all. Government actions and programs have tended to reinforce and stabilize the basic relationships of all Trans National Companies here; guaranteeing private property rights, supplying British and US business (including Ford and later Visteon UK) with needed inputs (like reliable infrastructure and skilled, disciplined workers), expanding markets, and managing social relationships in a way that promotes both stability and profitability. If Stormont can interfere on behalf of the Bosses, it can interfere on behalf of the workers.

What was not considered by our MLA’s waltzing about in Stormont and should be, is that workers continue to produce the said components for Ford or any other car company. The Assembly has already stated that “we are a Growing, a Dynamic, Innovative Economy, in a position to invest and build our own infrastructure with a highly trained workforce.” The factory should be nationalised under workers’ control. But that would be too radical a step for any of the parties in Stormont already committed to administering the neoliberal economic policies of the pro-business Brown Government in Westminster.

[Originally published in the E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, The Plough, Vol. 6, No. 4, April 8th 2009, Web Site]