UPDATE: Change of venue - see comment on this post.
The announcement of 1700 job losses at Corus in Redcar, here in the North East, is grim news for the steel workers - and a sharp reminder of the impact of the current recession. It is being treated as inevitable and unalterable by the news media, but it should be the trigger for mass action designed to protect all the jobs. Whether or not there's a militant response from workers and their supporters locally, it is essential that the left campaigns for nationalisation to save the workers' livelihoods. This also raises the wider politics of the crisis and its impact, especially as it co-incides with the revelations about the awaesome scale of the bank bailouts.
The following message comes from the North East Shop Stewards Network:
'Defend jobs on Teesside! Nationalise Corus Steel!
The NESSN is hosting a meeting on Monday 14 December at 7.30pm at Middlesbrough Unemployed centre, 119 Marton Rd, in support of the Corus Workers in Redcar.
While speakers are yet to be confirmed it's probable that there will be a speaker from the Lindsey dispute, an RMT speaker and of course a speaker from UNITE.
It was announced this morning that 1700 jobs are to be lost in the New Year at Corus in Redcar. This is the result of an Italian company pulling out of a contract.
I'm sure most of you are aware that this has been an on-going issue on Teesside, with demonstrations over the summer. It's time now that the government step in and nationalise the plant at Redcar - if they can afford an £850bn bailout for the bankers then they can afford to support ordinary workers too.'
It's good to see NESSN reponding so swiftly to this news. The network, which has 200 supporters including over 100 union reps, is the closest our region has to a rank and file organisation that can co-ordinate a response to the effects of economic crisis. Any union reps wanting to join the network should contact Dave Harker, Regional Secretary, at email@example.com