Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/8635
Successful meeting to defend Teeside Corus steel plant jobs
Over 30 people turned up to the Northern Shop Stewards Network public meeting in Middlesborough over the Closure of Corus steel plant, demanding "Defend Every Job! Nationalise Corus Steel!"
Keith Gibson, a leader of the Lindsey oil refinery strike, put forward the need for a clear class agenda. He outlined how Lindsey strikers, alongside battling against Total, had to take on the trade union bureaucracy.
Keith argued that for Corus workers the main obstacle is New Labour, who are not putting forward the re-nationalisation of the steel plant.
This posed the question of political representation and Keith put forward the need for a new workers' party, which fought for the interests of workers, not the profits of big business.
Heather Meldrum from Community, the steel workers union, told the meeting the number of jobs on the line was far greater than the 1700 direct job losses. Heather argued that the Corus workers had a lot of support from the Labour Party Government.
She then went on to say the fight is still on, and alongside a letter writing campaign the union were to hold a demonstration against the closure.
Peter Pinkney (RMT - personal capacity) was critical of the role of the Labour Party. He outlined the role of the Labour government and its failure to renationalise the railways, or repeal anti-trade union laws. His message to the Corus workers was not to hold any illusions in the Labour Party.
Speakers from the floor discussed a variety of issues. The anger regarding the bail-outs given to bankers, while no bail-out was forthcoming for Corus. The threat posed by the BNP, who were holding a meeting down the road.
The role played by Visteon and Vestas workers who had occupied their workplaces was raised. The need for green planning - Corus could produce the steel for wind turbines etc. Also the possibility of Corus workers standing candidates in the General election.
From the meeting we got a list who wanted to join the Shop Stewards Network, including getting involved with a Corus support group. This includes a worker from the Corus plant.