Whadda we want? Chicken broth for under a fiver!

EP - Somerfield comment

Today’s (Tuesday 17 Feb) front page splash is headlined “End of an era as 800 jobs face axe – Shutting up shop”. The story is the  announcement by Co-op Group, new owners of the Somerfield supermarket chain, of the closure of Somerfield’s Whitchurch HQ and up to 800 redundancies within the next 18 months.

The Post covers the story in some depth on pages 2 and 3 and also looks at the local roots and history of the Somerfield chain.

This announcement came on the same day that that 850 workers at the Cowley BMW plant in Oxfordshire were sacked with just an hour’s notice. Video footage quickly emerged of outraged workers heckling, booing and throwing missiles at bosses and the union reps they blame for selling them out. Apparently sacked workers later vandalised the brand new Minis they had just been sacked from producing.

There is clearly a growing sense of anger as well as fear as the the economic crisis begins to strangle ordinary people. There is obviously a potential for a fightback.

And so, we turn to the Evening Post’s “Bristol Fights Back” campaign against the effects of the recession. What do they have to say on the job cuts at Somerfield? Um . . . fuck all actually.

Today’s fightback page features an ad for an Evening Post owned shopping website and a recipe for chicken broth (“under a fiver!”).

We turn to the Post’s editorial comment on Somerfield (left) and we get this,image

What the Somerfield staff need now is the best possible advice and the opportunity to plan a future beyond the 18 months or so in which the Somerfield operation will be wound down.

They will need to be told how to best use the skills they have built up over years of loyal service to Somerfield and they will need advice on getting back into the jobs market. For some, it may be many years since they applied for a job.

Looking beyond Somerfield, these are difficult times for south Bristol.

On Saturday, we reported large areas where primary schools are undersubscribed. And last night, a public meeting was held to discuss the impact of a proposed Tesco Express store on Broadwalk centre in Knowle.

For some time now, the new regeneration project at Hengrove Park has been seen as the shining beacon of hope for what is an often neglected part of the city.

That’s right South Bristol, the Post says “don’t fight back”, just accept your fate. The best you can hope for now is some patronising Job Centre skills training before you are tossed onto the 2 million strong scrapheap of the unemployed.

But, hey South Bristol: You might be unemployed but at least you’ll have a nice new hospital to check yourself into when it all gets too much.

What utterly patronising shit from the Post’s editors. At least the local rag in Oxford seem to be condemning BMW for those job cuts and giving some space to serious fighting talk.

Of course the Post’s editors may have their own reasons for not wanting to encourage a fightback against job cuts, what with 45 redundancies on the horizon for the paper’s editorial staff.

Oh, and don’t be fooled by that “People Power” headline at the bottom of that editorial column. That’s a reference to a campaign in Stokes Croft to replace bill boards with street art. Very admirable and worthy of support and that. But when it comes to real people power, a real fightback, the Post will just smack you down.


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