The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Steel Meltdown?

Jan 4, 2016

The following two articles have been reprinted from Workers’ Fight #69, published by the revolutionary workers’ group of the same name active in Great Britain.

The steel industry is in turmoil. Two big steel producers – SSI UK and Caparo UK – are under bankruptcy administration, with SSI closing down its large Redcar site and Caparo shutting five sites in the Midlands. Meanwhile, Tata Steel will close its Scunthorpe site and two others near Glasgow.

In total, more than 4,000 workers – more than 20 percent of the industry’s 18,000 workforce – have been laid off in less than two months. And this is not counting the thousands of workers employed by companies supplying these steel mills.

Predictably, the leaders of Community, the industry’s main union, rushed to request from Cameron a rescue package for ... the steel bosses – including better protection against foreign steel and subsidies both to reduce their energy bills and to make up for the high pound. The steel industry’s lobby group, UK Steel, couldn’t have argued the steel bosses’ case better!

But isn’t it ironic that no mention was even made of the fact that all these three companies are in fact very wealthy? Outside Britain, Caparo has an empire of very profitable businesses. Thailand-based SSI is South-East Asia’s largest steel producer. As to the even larger Tata conglomerate, it also owns Jaguar-Land-Rover and employs around 620,000 workers worldwide! And these giants need rescuing? On the contrary, they need to be read the riot act!