Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/191/8083
Corus Steel Closures Strike to Stop Job Cuts
THE ANNOUNCEMENT by Corus to cut back at Ebbw Vale steelworks and the 'heavy' end of Llanwern steelworks with thousands of job losses, is expected as we go to press. This would be a devastating blow to the South Wales economy.
Dave Reid, Socialist Party Wales
Corus have shed nearly 5,000 jobs in the region in the last 12 months. The Gwent area will especially suffer.
Welsh First Secretary, Rhodri Morgan claims that 1,300 jobs in the finishing and rolling mill have been saved. But these will be closed too if steel making is lost at Llanwern, when steel will have to be transported to Llanwern from Redcar and Port Talbot, which already cannot meet their targets.
Almost certainly Corus will import steel to be finished at Llanwern. One worker in finishing said: "If they shut the heavy end it will only be a matter of months for finishing. Workers in the other parts would be always looking over their shoulder, wondering when it was their turn."
"The whole area will be hit because Corus is closing down our plant. We built it, the Tories privatised it and now Corus are going to throw it on the scrap heap. They have no right", said one steelworker who has been at the plant for 35 years and has refused early retirement.
Corus have not listened to steel union ISTC leaders, Rhodri Morgan or the government. The only language they will understand is industrial action.
It is not too late to save Llanwern, Ebbw Vale and the rest of the Corus plants. Mass meetings in Scunthorpe and Teesside have already voted to fight compulsory job losses, from the last round of cuts, with industrial action.
Members of FN. Bondgenoten have pledged industrial action at Llanwern's Dutch sister plant at IJmuiden.
Workers in Newport will rally around to support the 12,000 jobs threatened by closure. This is where the real force to save Llanwern will come from.
An all-out strike by all Corus workers involving the IJmuiden workers, linked to a mass campaign in the Newport area, would halt Corus in its tracks.
The ISTC leaders should call a ballot immediately and use the public support for the steelworkers to demand that the government renationalise steel under democractic workers' control and management.
In The Socialist 2 February 2001: