The announcement by BlueScope that it plans to destroy over 1,100 steel jobs in Wollongong and up to 300 at Hastings near Melbourne is a turning point in the class struggle in Australia.
As the global economic crisis worsens, an onslaught is underway internationally on the jobs, wages and conditions of the working class. Australia is no exception. With the direct involvement of the Labor government and the unions, major corporations such as BlueScope have unleashed a wave of restructuring that is predicted to destroy more than 100,000 jobs in manufacturing, construction, the banks and the public sector over the next six months.
The loss of BlueScope jobs will have a devastating impact in Wollongong and Hastings. The announcement was coordinated and prepared in advance by company executives, senior government ministers, and union bureaucrats. Workers were immediately subjected to a barrage of diversions aimed at stymieing any move to oppose the jobs cuts. The unions held out the enticement of higher redundancy pay-outs, while at the same time whipping up anti-Chinese nationalism and protectionism, in other words promoting a destructive trade war.
The Socialist Equality Party calls on workers at BlueScope and everywhere to fight the destruction of jobs and conditions on the basis of a socialist and internationalist program. That requires a complete break from the unions and the formation of rank-and-file committees to occupy plants threatened with closure and job losses and to prosecute a political struggle against the Gillard government. Workers are not responsible for the failure of capitalism and must not be forced to pay.
We urge workers and youth to attend our meeting in Port Kembla to discuss this perspective.
Sunday, September 11, 2.00 p.m.
Port Kembla Leagues Club
4 Wentworth Street, Port Kembla
Tickets: $2/$1 concession
Free car park on Wentworth Street opposite the Leagues Club
Short walk from Port Kembla Station