Workers in manufacturing, agriculture and construction will be campaigning around Australia today (Wednesday) to highlight the negative impact of Work Choices and the Howard Government’s approach to Australia’s manufacturing industry on families and local communities.
An official Federal Government briefing paper predicts that an extra 33,000 jobs will be shed from manufacturing over the next five years (source: Australian Jobs 2007, DEWR).
This is on top of the 108,000 jobs the sector has already lost under the Howard Government since 1996.
Despite the prediction of massive further job losses, the Howard Government is continuing to ignore the future needs of the manufacturing sector say unions.
ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence will meet with workers at the Holden plant in Elizabeth, SA. He said:
“John Howard and Peter Costello have a terrible record of failing to support Australian manufacturing.
“More than a hundred thousands jobs have gone from the industry under their watch and 33,000 more are set to go in the next few years if the Liberals and Nationals are re-elected.
“South Australia alone has lost nearly 11,000 manufacturing jobs under the Howard Government.
“Instead of providing secure, well-paid jobs for Australians in a globally competitive manufacturing industry, the Howard Govt has focussed on slashing workers’ wages & conditions through Work Choices.
“John Howard and Peter Costello have stood by while local businesses have gone broke or have been forced to move offshore.
“If the Coalition is re-elected there is a real danger that Australia’s manufacturing industries including the all-important car and auto component sectors will lose critical mass and shrink to an unsustainable level.
“Communities that have relied on manufacturing to provide decent job opportunities for local families need to stand up in this election and vote to prevent the rising tide of job cuts and gradual loss of Australian businesses overseas.
“Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s unequivocal commitment to saving and extending our national manufacturing capacity, including a green car innovation strategy, is very welcome,” said Mr Lawrence.
Workers in manufacturing, agriculture and construction will campaign today against Work Choices and the Howard Government’s neglect of manufacturing in Adelaide SA, Geelong VIC, Launceston TAS, Smithton TAS, Brisbane QLD, Perth WA and Sydney NSW.