Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Nationalise the steel industry!

By Socialist Party reporters

Steel manufactures the world over are being hit by a sharp drop in iron ore prices. The latest company to face problems is the South Australian steel firm Arrium, located in Whyalla.

Thousands of jobs hang in the balance as the company was placed in voluntary administration last month struggling to service more than $2 billion in debt. If the company was to collapse it would devastate the town as more than 10% of the population work at the plant.

A debate is underway about how to save the plant with some government ministers rejecting the idea of a government bailout. Labor and the unions are calling for measures such as the introduction of rules that force certain projects to use Australian steel.

Both solutions mean that tax payers end up subsidising the profit making interests of a private firm. This at the same time that the workers themselves are being asked to accept a 10% pay cut!

The solution is not to throw good money after bad, but to take these key industries out of the hands of big business. On the basis of public ownership, and democratic control and management, the steel industry could be utilised for the public good and jobs and communities like those of Whyalla protected.