Workers protesting at manufacturing job losses

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Workers protesting at manufacturing job losses

Manufacturing, agriculture and construction workers around Australia staged protests yesterday over the decline in manufacturing jobs and a lack of response from the Howard Government.

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Manufacturing, agriculture and construction workers around Australia staged protests yesterday over the decline in manufacturing jobs and a lack of response from the Howard Government.

ACTU Secretary, Jeff Lawrence said an official Federal Government briefing paper predicts that an extra 33,000 jobs will be shed from manufacturing over the next five years (source: Australian Jobs 2007, DEWR).

108,000 jobs already gone

Lawrence said this is on top of the 108,000 jobs the sector has already lost under the Howard Government since 1996.

He said that despite the prediction of massive further job losses, the Howard Government is continuing to ignore the future needs of the manufacturing sector.

'John Howard and Peter Costello have a terrible record of failing to support Australian manufacturing,' Lawrence said. 'More than 100,000 jobs have gone from the industry under their watch and 33,000 more are set to go in the next few years if the Liberals and Nationals are re-elected.

'South Australia alone has lost nearly 11,000 manufacturing jobs under the Howard Government. Instead of providing secure, well-paid jobs for Australians in a globally competitive manufacturing industry, the Howard Government has focused on slashing workers' wages and conditions through WorkChoices.'

Gone broke or offshore

Lawrence said John Howard and Treasurer Peter Costello have 'stood by while local businesses have gone broke or have been forced to move offshore'.

'If the Coalition is re-elected there is a real danger that Australia's manufacturing industries, including the all-important car and auto component sectors, will lose critical mass and shrink to an unsustainable level,' Lawrence said. 'Communities that have relied on manufacturing to provide decent job opportunities for local families need to stand up in this election and vote to prevent the rising tide of job cuts and gradual loss of Australian businesses overseas.

'Labor leader, Kevin Rudd's unequivocal commitment to saving and extending our national manufacturing capacity, including a green car innovation strategy, is very welcome.'

The protest action took place in Adelaide, Geelong, Launceston , Smithton, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.

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