Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/605/8578
Corus steel closure
'Bail out our jobs, not greedy bankers'
Workers in Teesside are shocked and outraged at the news that the Corus steel plant in Redcar is to close by the end of January, with the loss of 1,700 jobs. "We were planning for Christmas, now we're planning for the dole queue," one worker told us.
Ed Hamilton, Teesside Socialist Party
Hours after the closure announcement, the Socialist Party took to the streets of Middlesbrough. People gathered round when they saw our stall with posters against the closure, demanding that the government bail out the workers rather than frittering £850 billion on the bankers.
People congratulated us on 'making sense'. "You're the only ones calling for nationalisation. Yet that's what everyone is talking about down the pub," was one response. "Why aren't our MPs calling for nationalisation?" said another.
The workers were angry that no-one was giving them any real information: "One of the lads was off sick and the only way he found out he was going to lose his job was by reading the paper," explained one person. "We've had no details of what sort of redundancy they're going to offer us," another angrily said.
Many left the stall with a copy of The Socialist under their arm, happier in the knowledge that there was an alternative - one that made sense!
Corus steel workers on the Unite jobs demonstration in Birmingham, photo Paul Mattsson (Click to enlarge)
The town of Middlesbrough has been built on steel making. But the skilled and hard working people of Teesside have been betrayed by the systematic sale, asset stripping and subsequent closure of the heavy industry that this area was built on. We have been left with some of the worst unemployment statistics and poverty in the country.
Kirby Adams, Corus chief executive, has said that the closure was 'very sad' news.
But Corus is owned by the Tata Steel conglomerate which announced nearly £3 billion in profits last year.
They are not interested in the devastating impact this will have on the local community. Their only concern is producing, not steel, but profits for shareholders.
- Bail out the workers not the bankers.
- Trade union support for any action by Corus workers to defend jobs on Teesside.
- No redundancies - share out the work.
- No attacks on pay and conditions.
- No to concession bargaining.
- The steel industry should be renationalised and run, alongside nationalised construction and car industries, under democratic workers' control and management.
Youth Fight for Jobs campaigners speak out
Paul Phillips, 21, Northern regional organiser of Youth Fight for Jobs said: "It is obvious that this government is not serious about safeguarding jobs. They are only interested in safeguarding the rich bankers and their large pay packets.
"This is a devastating blow not just to workers in Teesside but to the whole country. Yet none of the three major parties have come out in support of these workers showing that none of them represent workers in this country."
Hannah Walter, 24, Teesside, Unison national executive said, in a personal capacity: "The news that 1,700 jobs will be lost at Corus on Teesside is a devastating blow for local people.
"For youth in particular, with a 20% unemployment rate, this represents the destruction of more secure and well paid jobs on Teesside.
"The government has paid £850 billion to bail out the banks - but they cry 'poverty' when it comes to supporting ordinary working people.
"The trade unions should get behind the Corus workers and back any action they take, demanding that Corus is nationalised, not like the banks but under the democratic control of workers and the local community."
Defend Every Job
Nationalise Corus Steel
Public meeting called by the National Shop Stewards Network
Monday 14 December, 7.30pm
Westgarth Social Club, 99 Southfield Road,
Middlesbrough, TS1 3EZ.
In The Socialist 9 December 2009:
Socialist Party editorial
War and occupation
Socialist Party news and analysis
Youth fight for jobs
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party appeal