Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/607/8692
Teesside fight to save jobs
There is a heavy cloud hanging over Teesside but it has nothing to do with the worst snow for fifty years. Instead a cloud of worry hangs over the heads of hundreds of families as the once strong steel backbone of the region has been broken by the news that Corus is to close.
Ed Hamilton, Teeside Socialist Party
The devastating effect of 1,700 job losses doesn't even take into account between 2,500 and 3,000 contractors who will also lose their jobs and the inevitable knock-on effect on local jobs and businesses in the area.
Lord Mandelson has responded with £60 million to "help drive the region forward". It has come to light, however that this money would come almost entirely from existing budgets.
Geoff Waterfield, chairman of the Multi-Union Works Committee on Teesside, said he is incensed that nothing more is being done to keep the steelworks open: "Surely the chief aim is to keep the plant alive and to keep the people in work ... He's [Mandelson] basically said "your job's over, here's some money for your bus fare home".
These comments reflect the strong feelings of resentment and betrayal felt by people in Teesside. I am confident that they will turn out in great numbers to a mass rally on 13 February to highlight the plight of Teesside's manufacturing sector.
Recent body blows include the mothballing of the Teesside Cast Products site in Redcar on 29 January and the crisis hitting six key chemical sites.
Two have closed, two are set to close, and doubts continue over the future of a further two.
Alongside public demonstrations, the unions should be holding public and factory gate meetings, speaking to workers about a programme of action to save the plant, and calling for solidarity action by Corus workers at other plants.
Central to the campaign to save Corus Steel must be the call to renationalise the steel industry, under democratic workers' control and management.
In The Socialist 13 January 2010:
Trade Unionists and Socialist Coalition
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party international feature
International socialist news and analysis