Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

WA: Mining sector job losses

Iron ore dominates the Western Australian mining landscape in the Pilbara region. With the recent decline in iron ore prices the profit margins of many mining companies such as BHP and Rio Tinto have been hit quite aggressively.

By Matt Myers, Socialist Party

The decline in iron ore prices is mirrored with many other mining commodities and is largely attributed to declining economic growth in China. In response BHP announced a round of jobs cuts at their offices in Perth during June. This has been followed by job cuts at other companies and contractors that service the mining industry.

Mining companies will seek to maximise their profitability to appease shareholders and will use this decline in commodity prices as an opportunity to leverage concessions from workers. More than ever trade unions need to organise to prevent the erosion of worker’s conditions.

Rather than workers relying on the cyclical nature of the capitalist mining industry, a socialist plan would seek to provide job security by retraining and employing workers in other industries such as renewable technology.

On the basis of public ownership and control of the mining, energy and education sectors such a plan would benefit all of society.