Holdens / arrium steel

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Radelaide-the-tragic's picture
Joined: 23-08-16
Aug 25 2016 10:36
Holdens / arrium steel

Hello fws, as a unionist is the from Adelaide the closing of Holden's, as well as the selling or potential closure of arrium presents a massive working class struggle. It's my opinion that if these businesses close down the workers should take control of the factories for themselves. What I want to know is how to plant that seed and instigate that struggle? Any suggestions on where to start and what to do? I don't know much about Holden's and even less about arrium steel, the sheer size of these operations would make organising a workers occupation a major struggle and I really don't know how to get to the workers without alerting management or other oppressors.

Joined: 24-09-04
Sep 7 2016 12:38

Well that's a huge task to be honest.

In Brisbane when Campbell Newman sacked masses of Railway workers, a few years ago, BSN went out to the train yards in Ipswich to set up stall with info flyers to encourage general strike action, and talk to people during shift change over.

General response was, 'Thanks mate, but should have started doing this 6 months ago. Bit late now'. So guess it's the old path of finding a few like minds, getting in there, start sharing the idea, with the means that you have.

Joined: 2-01-07
Sep 8 2016 04:07

The reality in regard to the Ipswich stuff - is that your mob was not interested in doing the long range "serious" organising in this sector prior to the sackings - you had an important tool the ASN transport paper "Sparks" - your mob - refused to get behind it!!! - with it you could have made contacts with workers who wanted to do something, did stories/interviews or even made contact with a militant workers network which existed behind the scenes - helped them with their agitation, networking, countering management propaganda. Developed a QLD rail section ( you in fact did have at least one in this area) and even later on other sections in the paper. So not just 6 months later you could have helped get things rolling years later. I in fact raised this sort of thing on this forum years and some of you on various occasions years ago. You could still do something like this now. But is your mob serious about industrial organising? What you wrote above does look like the type of pointless stuff left sects get up to - getting involved when something big happens but is too late and churning out a bit of abstract propaganda - and perhaps having a bit of excitement and an excuse for a social occasion. In the case of the notorious "Hutchison Ports" dispute of 2015 - in fact certain of these sects and activoids were used by the union bosses of the MUA in a despicable "smoke and mirrors" performance - where a fake victory was claimed but a real defeat of workers achieved by the MUA bosses and the employer/Govt.
We actually did something exactly on these above lines (re serous long range work) in NSW/Sydney - in the years in the lead up to the Olympics in 2000 - after some years we did make contact with such a militant network - helped them with their stuff - and assisted them to win a key union mass meeting which they forced the union bosses to call - to oppose restructuring of the railways station network for privatisation - to out manoeurvre this grass roots success - the union bosses called a lightning state wide rail strike. All this had far reaching consequences in terms of slowing the general privatisation push and slowing the tempo of the employer offensive.
In regard to Whyalla - there has been a media report of workers there opposing a push by the union bosses/the bosses for the workers to agree to the cut of wages and conditions. This may indicate the activity of an above "behind the scenes" militant network - so there may be time to assist them - if a way can be found to determine if it exists make contact. The would need help re putting out a workplace paper etc.