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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 September 2010

Corus Redcar - the real story

Les Bayliss, right-wing candidate for Unite general secretary, is claiming in an email circular that the sale of Corus' Teesside plant to the Thai steel maker SSI is proof that quiet lobbying by union officials, not militant trade unionism, is the way to protect jobs in manufacturing. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Socialist members of Unite

In fact industrial action was threatened on three occasions during the campaign to save Teesside. There was a huge march through Redcar, with calls for the government to step in, and for Corus to sit down with a prospective buyer.

Now, in the sale to SSI, the Thai company have got not just the steel works, which produces slab steel, but in all likelihood the highly profitable South Bank coke ovens, which produce coke for Teesside and for export. They will also have co-ownership of a deep water wharf in Redcar. Access to a deep water facility will be very profitable as the world demand for steel and coke picks up again.

In short, the forces behind the deal are firstly a determined and militant campaign by steel workers across the country, not just in Redcar; secondly the upturn in the world economy; and thirdly the quality of the assets in Teesside, which will be picked up by SSI for a mere 320 million. Lobbying by union officials comes a very distant fourth.

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In The Socialist 9 September 2010:

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