Ford and Holden have recently announced hundreds more job cuts which in turn put at risk the jobs of workers in the components industry. They argue that due to declining international confidence and consumer demand, workers in the industry should bear the risk and sacrifice while industry bosses and shareholders are protected.
When Ford and Toyota CEOs shamelessly put their hands out for more government subsidies to shore up their profits this was not in return for guarantees to save jobs. Yet the federal government was happy to pitch in, and federal manufacturing minister Kim Carr defended this by saying that the government gets a good bang for its buck. But car industry workers are being left high and dry.
While quibbling about details, both the Gillard Labor government and the Liberal-National opposition are determined to waste billions of dollars to directly subsidise the profits of General Motors Holden, Ford and Toyota while these corporations continue to cut more and more jobs.
Socialist Alliance says enough of this billion-dollar racket!
Mitsubishi extorted hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal subsidies right until it closed down its Australian operations in 2008, laying off 1700 workers. GMH, Ford and Toyota are playing the same dirty game.
These companies should be immediately nationalised and the industry re-tooled to manufacture public transport vehicles, electric cars and infrastructure for a rapid shift to renewable energy.
Workers in the car industry have the skills and expertise in logistics, production engineering, designing for production and quality control that could be applied to production which helps us break from a fossil fuel dependent economy. This is urgently needed to address the climate change crisis.
The industry can be re-tooled to produce wind turbines and other equipment for renewable energy production, as well as trams, trains and other vehicles and infrastructure for a sustainable transport system.
The trade union movement should not tail behind the bi-partisan policy of subsidising car company profits and instead demand that the public's money be invested protecting jobs and building a just and the environmentally sustainable future.
Socialist Alliance says: