Yesterday Kevin Rudd announced that the Government would create 50,000 new green jobs. Today it has been revealed that most of those jobs will be nothing more than unpaid work experience for young people!
With unemployment now back up to 5.7 per cent, many workers have been disappointed that the Government has not stepped in with a serious plan to protect and create jobs.
While the Government claims their two stimulus plans were about job creation, the figures suggest differently. The Government asserts that infrastructure funding will create tens of thousands of jobs over the next few years. However, with an estimated 1 million people out of work during this period, only a small fraction of those unemployed will find jobs on these projects.
Most of the money from the stimulus packages is going towards propping up big business profits. The cash handouts have been a helping hand to the big retail companies, while at the same time shop workers are loosing their jobs or having their hours cut.
Similarly, car companies have been given millions in bailouts without giving assurances they will not cut jobs. There is no evidence to suggest that bailouts or corporate subsidies result in significant increases in employment, yet this is where much of the budget deficit has been spent.
Even Rudd’s plan to spend money on infrastructure projects is aimed at supporting the big construction companies rather than creating new jobs. Instead of employing construction workers directly, the Government will be engaging in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) which will be a huge profits boost for the construction bosses.
The problem with Rudd’s plan is that it puts the desires of big business before the needs of ordinary people. The best way to create jobs, and provide for the future, is to invest in an extensive campaign of publicly owned and operated projects. Money needs to be pumped into building and upgrading hospitals, schools, housing, and transport. Investment in renewable technology would also ensure the creation of environmentally sustainable jobs.
Investing in these works not only provides employment now but will improve people’s lives in the future. Unlike Rudd’s plan, the focus should not be private profit-making, but investing in services and assets that will raise our standards of living.
The trade union movement needs to fight for a program of public works alongside fighting to defend every job that is under threat. Resisting redundancies means preserving skills and jobs both now and for future generations.
If companies threaten closures or redundancies, unions should campaign for the company to be taken into public ownership under the democratic control and management of workers and the community. Working hours should be shared out with no loss of pay.
Public ownership is integral if we are to plan production in such a way that provides for all. Democratic planning also allows for factories to be retooled for socially necessary and environmentally conscious production.
A publicly owned and democratically planned economy is the only way to ensure long-term job security. It is also the most effective and sustainable way to meet the needs of everyone in society, not just the super rich.
By SP reporters