Don’t Blame Overseas Workers -
Unite with Them to Stop Millionaire Aussie Bosses From Doing As They Please!
Prevent Company Owners from Slashing Jobs!
Union Industrial Action Now!
March 27- Workers are furious. They are being told that their jobs are not safe by the very same corporate big wigs that have leached millions out of workers’ toil in the last few years. Even as the bosses announce job cuts or tell workers that they must forego pay rises, they hand themselves more millions. About a year before she announced the layoff of 1850 workers, Pacific Brands head Sue Morphet had her salary increased from $686,000 to $1.8 million. Meanwhile, outgoing Telstra boss, Sol Trujillo will leave the company in June with a total payout of $20 million. This after boasting that he had personally axed 10,000 Telstra jobs!

However, we should not be distracted by the Liberal and Labor parties telling us that the problem is simply that the executives are ripping off the shareholders. No! The big shareholders and the executives are in this together … in this together against the workers. It is the main shareholders that hire the executives in the first place. They select the executives solely for the executives’ ability to squeeze as much labour out of as few workers as possible while paying the lowest wages they can get away with. For their part, the executives are often substantial owners themselves.

The fact is that we workers are being made to pay for the crisis of their capitalist system. But in actual fact workers would not be losing their jobs if the capitalists were prepared to accept lower profits. The bosses could, for example, maintain production volume and therefore jobs by lowering the sale price of their companies’ products. The workweek could also be shortened with no loss in pay. And when there is less work available, employees could undergo fully paid skills training.

Let us look at the numbers behind these proposals. Take Australia’s biggest company, BHP. In January BHP announced that it would be laying off 6,000 workers worldwide. But even if we assume that all the laid off workers would, if they remain employed, produce no added revenue for the company and if we generously put their average salary at $80,000 a year then the total cost to BHP of retaining the 6,000 workers would be $480 million. Yet last financial year BHP made a profit that was 33 times this figure! They extracted an after tax profit of over $16 billion. That means BHP could pay the annual wages of all the workers that they will dump with just 3% of last year’s net profits. By sacrificing just three percent! But BHP’s rich shareholders are not prepared to do that – they are not willing to forego buying that fifth holiday home or that fourth top of the range BMW or miss out on flying first class every time just for the sake of saving thousands of workers jobs. No way! Not “our” Big Australian owners.

What about other companies that might not make such huge profits this year? Well, they should be made to wear a loss and pay workers out of the profits that their owners have already sweated out of workers in previous years. That may mean the capitalist owners have to sell their private jet or one of their luxury yachts. Tough!

However, it is against the nature of the greed-based capitalist system for corporate owners to sacrifice profits for the sake of workers’ jobs. That is why these millionaires must be forced to do this by union industrial action. They must be shown that if they lay off any workers they will lose much more from the resulting strike action than the money that they save from reduced wage payments.

If bosses try to lay off some employees at a firm then no employee must work until the job cuts are reversed. In cases where companies are closing whole factories or even closing down operations, the plants should be occupied by the workers and the company prevented from selling its assets. Such militant action will need to be protected by solidarity contingents of unionists from other workplaces. Often workers are being confronted with a situation similar to BHP workers where the company closes down some sites while retaining all its most profitable operations. In such situations workers in the most profitable sites need to hold the corporate owners to ransom through determined strike action until the bosses agree to reinstate all the workers laid off in closed sites.


Trotskyist Platform: PO Box 1101, Fairfield NSW 1860, Australia.
Phone (Australia): 0417 204 611
Phone (International):0061 417 204 611