The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that approximately 2000 full time jobs were lost every day in February alone. Many economists are predicting unemployment to climb to more than 10 per cent by the end of this year. Young people, particularly school leavers, are being hit the hardest with youth unemployment already standing at nearly 24 per cent.
It is clear that Rudd’s stimulus packages are not going to be enough to stop the economy sliding into recession. For example, despite the $10 billion hand outs in December last year we still saw a 0.5 per cent decline in the economy. This decline is not just a number on paper. It translates into real job losses and will impact on the lives of thousands of people.
The pressing question is who should pay for this crisis? Should it be ordinary people who have struggled even during the boom times or should it be the bosses who have made mega profits in recent years?
Ordinary people played no role in creating this crisis and should not be made to pay. This means saying no to job losses, cuts to hours and attacks on public services. If the system can’t afford to maintain our standards of living then we should say that we can’t afford your system!
Unfortunately all of the major parties think it should be workers, and not bosses, who pay. The stimulus packages are designed to defend profits and not a single employer has been asked to protect jobs.
At the same time it seems as if many trade union leaders have forgotten what their job is. Most have already given up on the idea of a fight back and some have already agreed to job losses and to forego pay rises. Others think their job is to help bosses fast track workers onto the dole! We need trade unions to fight against every single job loss and to campaign for decent pay rises to ensure our standards of living are maintained.
If companies claim they can not operate without sacking staff, workers should demand that the bosses open their books. Let us see where all of your profits have gone. Instead of giving handouts to failing companies we should demand that they be taken into public ownership under democratic workers control. If bosses and governments refuse to accept this workers should fight back with industrial action including strikes and occupations.
It is clear that the employers are hell bent on defending their profits as the downturn gets worse. We need to be just as vigilant when it comes to defending jobs and conditions. The need to build fighting trade unions and a new mass workers party will become clearer to people as this battle between profits and jobs intensifies. In the meantime we need to start the fight back and let the bosses know that we won’t pay for your crisis!
By SP reporters