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Issue #1656      September 17, 2014

Editorial

Job destroyers

State and federal governments are sacking thousands of public servants regardless of the consequences to services or the pressure placed on remaining employees.

In the private sector, Qantas, banks, telecommunications companies, auto industry (closing down), Australia Post and countless other corporations are in the process of sacking workers and offshoring work where possible.

The government has no job creation programs and has turned its back on the development of the Australian economy and well-being of the people.

Instead it focuses on making Australia more attractive (lower wages, tax breaks) to foreign investors and promoting exports – resources sector and related infrastructure, finance, tourism, education, jobs and to a lesser extent agriculture – to the detriment of the economy and short-term and long-term employment. Important skills bases are disappearing. The deindustrialisation and restructuring of the economy is taking Australia back decades, and leaving the economy extremely vulnerable to economic crises.

At the same time prices continue to rise. Health services, education, transport and the utilities are set to become more expensive. Public housing is being run down, sold off, with more people joining the ranks of the homeless or forced to live in sub-standard accommodation.

The private housing market, in Melbourne and Sydney in particular, is still overheated yet the government is doing nothing to control prices or limit foreign purchases. Resentment towards Asians (identified by the media as buying up Australia’s real estate) is being fuelled by the media as Australian workers are closed out of the market.

Higher prices, lower wages, cuts to social security payments along with rising unemployment and underemployment is a toxic combination. Apart from reducing living standards and imposing hardships on workers and their families, it is a recipe for economic crisis and even more hardship.

Fewer workers on lower wages means less money to purchase goods and services. This will only lead to a crisis of “over-production”. Overproduction in the sense that there is surplus to what people can buy, not necessarily surplus to what they need. When this happens, production is cut, workers sacked, companies go bust, and the downward spiral sets in.

Yet the government stands by and watches as whole sectors of the economy are destroyed. It does nothing to plan economic development, nothing to create jobs, nothing to control prices or provide the services that are needed. Instead it continues to deregulate the private sector and privatise public assets and government functions.

Neo-liberal economics and ultra-conservative politics are heightening the exploitation of workers around the world and swelling the profits of global capital and mining magnates like Clive Palmer and Gina Rinehart.

The CPA calls for pro-people policies including:

  • an immediate rise in wages, in pensions, unemployment and other social welfare benefits
  • a shorter working week with no loss in pay
  • a halt to privatisation of essential services and a start to reversing the process
  • an increase in spending on public services and infrastructure – health, education, housing, pensions, unemployment benefits, as well as infrastructure for improved public transport, an expanded rail freight system, improved urban and rural water supply system and alternative sustainable energy
  • the introduction of laws guaranteeing basic trade union and workers’ rights including the right to strike.

(For more information on CPA policies, see cpa.org.au/policies)

Next article – CPA Secretariat statement – Proposed visit to Australia of Golden Dawn

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