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From The Socialist newspaper, 24 February 2010

Anger on Teesside over Corus closure

AS THE process of shutting down the blast furnace at Teesside's Corus steel plant began, hundreds of steelworkers, their families and people from the local community turned out. The mood was sombre as 170 years of steelmaking on Teesside came to an end.

Elaine Brunskill

Alongside union banners, homemade placards declaring, "Steelworkers have dignity, Tata & Brown have shame," and a message for Mandelson, "If you have your chequebook come here - If not go home to your ivory tower Mr Mandelson."

Steelworker Mike Guess commented on the speculation that Corus could be bought up by a consortium: "We don't want a venture capitalist taking over - they just want to cut wages, cut workers and sell off our assets. We'll end up with nothing - not even our redundancy pay." ... "The plant should be renationalised, we are a profitable company."

Mike explained that the future looked bleak: "What's on offer? Nothing!" Earlier we were told that an on-site JobCentre Plus had a notice board offering only nine jobs.

Mike continued: "Today is a sad day for the Labour Party. I don't know anyone here who is going to vote Labour."

This mood was reflected in a poll for the local paper which revealed 84% of people don't believe the North-East has benefited from the last 13 years of Labour governments.

Elizabeth English, whose partner has worked at Teesside's Corus plant for around 28 years, said, "There's going to be nothing left around here. It's not just the 1,600 workers directly employed by Corus, there's around 4,000 agency workers, then there's the knock-on effect on the local high street."

She also spoke about the lack of opportunities for young people in the area. "There's no future for young ones. No physical jobs with apprentices - especially for young lads. Young people will be forced to move out of the area."


On Question Time, which was held in Middlesbrough the previous evening, the discussion was dominated by Corus. Members of the audience wanted to know why billions of pounds of taxpayers' money had been used to bail out banks, yet the government was sitting back and letting the steel industry in Teesside die.

Steelworkers' unions are now considering industrial action. The Socialist Party has consistently called on trade unions to defend jobs on Teesside. However, to make these announcements on the eve of shutting down the furnaces is extremely late in the day.

Rather than relying on the outside possibility that some profiteer will step in, Corus should be renationalised and run under democratic workers' control and management.

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In The Socialist 24 February 2010:

NHS: Not safe in their hands!

Private 'vultures' to run NHS hospital

How to stop cuts and defend public services

Demo opposes £29m Notts county cuts

Youth fight for jobs

Young people deserve a future: Join the Manchester march for jobs on 13 March

Youth Fight for Jobs Demonstrations

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

RMT branch supports challenge to Denham

Support the TUSC election challenge

Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition General Election launch rally

Socialist Party news and analysis

British Airways cabin crew v management: Round two

Anger on Teesside over Corus closure

ID cards - an expensive threat to civil liberties

Tories attack community café...

Yarl's Wood hunger strike

Fast news


The Eton co-op won't work

Unison witch-hunt

Nominate Roger Bannister: Unison's leadership battle

Unison witch-hunt continues

Workplace news and analysis

South Wales: Demo against council cuts

Staythorpe: the fight for workplace safety

Port workers battle bosses... and high court

Jobcentre staff fight cuts

Leeds university: Support lecturers striking to save jobs

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Iraq: All eyes on the oil prize

Socialist Party news and analysis

Campaigning rights victory: But questions remain on new Waltham Forest policy


How can the racist BNP be defeated?

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