Manufacturing – how will it survive the economic climate in Australia?

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for steel workers at BlueScope Steel, after the company announced over 1000 jobs losses over its two operations in Port Kembla and Hastings. Now, members of the Australian Worker’s Union are angry at BlueScope’s redundancy offer, which they says is inadequate, particularly when BlueScope executives just awarded themselves a hefty payrise.

The Gillard government have offered 10 million dollars in assistance, but what will this mean for these workers in practical terms?  And how will the manufacturing industry deal with the twin issues of the high dollar and the looming carbon tax?

Catherine Zengerer catches up with John Spoehr,  Executive Director of the Australian Institute for Social Research at the University of Adelaide, who’s spent  considerable time looking at these issues. He mapped the effect of massive job losses in Newcastle and what happened to the workers there over the long term.


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