Global unions IndustriALL and UNI, are holding a day of action on 11 April against Kimberly-Clark’s restructuring plans and the company’s contempt for unions and workers around the world.
— Read on www.industriall-union.org/unions-stage-global-protest-against-kimberly-clark
This is about the closure of Huggies, a healthy manufacturing shop in south west SYDNEY, owned by the global corporation Kimberly Clark.
220 workers lose their jobs.
Australian Prime Minister Morrison, when asked about this, said that they would have to “manage their disappointment” and they would be rescued by his government’s management of the economy.
That would be the well known trickle down economic management that shifts most workers from relatively secure jobs to part time and casualised jobs that are still counted as employment so that Morrison and his cheer leaders can brag about their job creation “achievements”.
Essentially, the Kimberley Clark corporation have gone on strike. Theirs is a strike of capital. That capital was made possible by the labour of the workers in that plant and expropriated from them by the company. It is wealth produced by the efforts of the workers in that factory. Kimberley Clark now wish to take that wealth and use it to pursue the hyper exploitation of workers in China. In capitalism, this is defined as a corporate, that is employer, entitlement.
Further, it is a protected strike, although Kimberley Clark, unlike their workers, do not have to jump through legal hoops, nor permission from anyone to get legal protection to engage in this strike of capital. The law that protects their strike just is.
The workers were not notified of Kimberley Clark’s intent before the decision was announced. There has been no consultation except that which might be forced by an industrial campaign.
One option for the workers would be quite challenging: industrial action that prevents the removal of any machinery from the current plant, occupation of the plant reinforced by a demand that the plant be taken over as a workers cooperative. That would require commitment from a workforce who no doubt never before considered such action might be necessary, and maybe never even heard of such a strategy, and also organising broad labour movement support if the strategy was adopted. It would also require pressure on the parliamentary Labor Party and the Greens to help give legal effect to this if they win government. Neither have yet shown any appetite for such, including in their proposals to change the industrial relations law.
It would also require much stronger leadership from the relevant Australian unions. It’s not clear whether there is an appetite for that during an election campaign because the one that is being run by unions, at least in NSW, is designed to serve the electoral needs of the ALP.
BETWEEN NOW AND May 1st is the right time for a first stage escalation of a campaign that seeks the reversal of this decision and the removal of the power of Kimberley Clark to decide what happens next.
On May 1st, 2 left wing unions, the CFMMEU and the AMWU, are leading the charge for a mass day of action in NSW TO #changetherules . Others are joining in.
The Huggies workers are members of the Manufacturing Division of the CFMMEU. Many AMWU members and former members have been through the same experience. It would be quite surprising if these unions did not make sure that May Day 2019 made the defeat of this decision and the future jobs of the Huggies workers a top priority.