The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Ford demands more profits

Jul 22, 2002

Through the year 2000 Ford Motor Company had record-breaking profits. But in 2001, they had a loss. With this excuse they are demanding that costs must be cut. They claim the cost cutting will come from overhead, that is, management, etc. In fact, as every Ford worker knows, Ford always is looking for ways to cut out jobs and speed up work.

Ford’s Chief Financial Officer Allan Gilmour told a Detroit newspaper last week, “We’re not here to change targets, we’re here to change our execution – or to have some, if that doesn’t work.” When bosses talk about execution, it is not themselves they plan to shoot. If any executives lose their jobs, they will get “golden” handshakes, full of money or stock, when they leave. Bosses’ planned cuts always mean getting rid of jobs, whether in the office or on the production line.

Last year, Ford’s excuse for cutting was that it had lost money. But the company announced a profit this year, so it now says it must cut costs because it wants to make more money, more record-breaking profits. It wants to earn seven billion dollars before taxes in 2005!

Just about two years ago, Chrysler was singing the same song, pretending to lose hundreds of millions each quarter. This year, it’s making profits. That doesn’t mean Chrysler won’t be back asking workers to help them cut millions of dollars in expenses.

We cannot trust the bosses’ excuses or their accounting records. We cannot trust anything they say to us or to the media. What we can be sure of is what they tell each other: profits and more profits – no matter who they have to execute!

What we can trust is our own sense of what’s possible and what’s not. No worker should ever have to work at a pace that wears him or her out.