Tag Archive for: Mining

Socialist candidate backs Mine Workers over job losses

Rumours were spread at the end of May about possible job losses at the Woodsmith potash mine near Whitby, operated by Anglo American. The Woodsmith site began construction in 2017 under a different company with promises of jobs for local people and community investment. The project currently employs around 2000 people. However, with the majority of those roles being for contractors, the amount of ‘local jobs’ being created has never quite met expectations.

Following several attempts from another mining company – BHP – to buy out Anglo American, the decision was made to effectively mothball the project. This has only made the promises of 8 years ago even sourer. To prevent a takeover, Anglo American needs to win over shareholders by maintaining profit growth. The Woodsmith site is still being developed and is yet to produce any material yet alone turn a profit, this has meant cuts to the investment in the project from £800 million per year to just £159 million have been made to maintain profits internationally.

Local Parliamentary candidate reacts

Reacting to the news of cuts and threats to jobs, Asa Jones – the Social Justice Party candidate for Scarborough and Whitby – said:

“For many in our community, the decision by Anglo American to reduce capital investment in Woodsmith and effectively put the project into tick-over mode will feel like an inevitability.

“Mining corporations have played pass the parcel with the Woodsmith project since its inception and the promises of “lots of jobs for local people” have never come near to fruition.

“The truth is, Anglo American has more than enough money to keep meeting their original investment target of £800m per year, but they have made the decision to cut investment and hence jobs in favour of maintaining profit growth for their shareholders.

Source: BBC News

It was announced this week that of the 360 people directly employed by Anglo American, around half are going to be cut with more reductions in contracted staff also expected. When it came to who he supports, Asa made his priorities clear:

“Unlike other candidates, I will not be meeting with Anglo American executives. I have met and have got to know many people actually working on the Woodsmith project and will be supporting them in their attempt to save their jobs over the coming months.”

Whats the solution?

Just as with the railways or our NHS or water, this crisis has shown how destructive an over-reliance on the private sector can be in industry and resource extraction. There is no lack of money for the Woodsmith project, but through the prioritising of profits – it is working class people who have suffered. Asa Jones was clear about the way forward:

“What most certainly must not happen, is the use of Government funds – our tax money – to subsidise Anglo American profits.

“Polyhalite – just like Iron and Coal – is a part of our nation’s natural resources. We should be nationalising the extraction of all such resources, to ensure that projects like Woodsmith are run in the interests of all people.

“Common ownership of mining would mean projects are run to genuinely create jobs for local communities, it would mean that projects are only set up when they are compliant with our net-zero goals and it would mean we could re-invest the profits of this industry back into our public services instead of the off-shore bank accounts of multinational corporations and their shareholders.”

The Social Justice Party is committed to the nationalisation of public services and the democratisation of other workplaces to give ordinary people power over their own lives where they need it most. This is crucial to not only help facilitate a redistribution of wealth back down to working people, but to also give people a stake in their workplaces and confidence that this country is run in their interests.