Pacific Brands – turn anger into action
Posted by John, February 27th, 2009 - under ALP, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Australian politics, Big business, Capitalism, Economics, Fighting back, Labor Party, Nationalisation, Occupations, Strikes, Trade unions, Unions, sackings, unemployment.
Workers around Australia are justifiably angry about Pacific Brands.
They are angry that it has sacked 1850 fellow workers. And they are angry that the company’s 13 executives received total pay last year of $15 million – double the year before.
This $15 million is almost exactly the amount we taxpayers have given Pacific Brands.
And get this. The company rewarded its executives at the same time they first began to plot sacking thousands and moving production offshore. Maybe the bosses’ wage increases were for developing the plans to destroy the lives of 1850 workers.
The time has come to turn anger into action. Bravo to the Transport Workers’ Union, the Maritime Union of Australia and the Rail Tram and Bus Union for deciding to ban moving any Pacific Brand machinery from Australia.
Unfortunately the TWU has said it will keep that ban in place until PB repays the $17 million in grants we taxpayers have given it. Wrong. The TWU should keep the present bans in place until the company re-hires all its workers.
And it should ban the movement of all Pacific Brands goods until the 1850 jobs are safe – either through forcing PB to change its plans or forcing Rudd to nationalise the company.
In any event it is not clear how powerful a threat the ban on moving machinery will be. PB may just cut its losses and sell the machinery for very little or abandon it and rebuild in China and other countries.
One of the company’s workers told Joel Fitzgibbon, her local member and the Minister for Defence in Kevin Rudd’s ‘Labor’ Government, to nationalise the company and save their jobs.
He huffed and puffed about executive salaries.
I have a solution for all this false indignation from politicians and others about executive salaries. Support large real wage increases for workers. The bosses would then have less money to give themselves huge pay increases.
Of course the profit bludgers and their Labor supporters won’t accept wage increase for their workers. Slimy politicians and the trade union princes and princesses will use the indecent sums all executives get to divert attention away from the fact that Rudd, Barrow and their ilk will do nothing, absolutely nothing, to save Pacific Brand jobs. Unless workers force them to.
Only strike action by all Pacific Brand employees - the 1850 sacked and the remaining 7000 – can save the seemingly ‘doomed’ jobs and wipe the smile from the greedy. All Pacific Brand workers could occupy their workplaces until PB agrees to stay, or the Government nationalises them, without any job losses.
And Sharan Burrow, instead of the sideshow about the obscene pay company directors receive, should organise the big battalions of the union movement to black ban PB until it guarantees that all workers will keep their jobs. Or until Rudd Labor agrees to nationalise the company and secure every job.
The TWU could lead the way by banning the movement of any Pacific Brands goods within Australia, effective immediately. What about it TWU?
The main game is with Pacific Brand workers. Only strikes and occupations have any chance of saving your jobs.
And if you did strike and occupy, hundreds of thousands of workers across Australia would support you industrially until you won.