Be Afraid – be very afraid. Port Kembla Harbour may well be a done deal re-sell off sorry lease. Trevor Mott writes.
Who knows who the lessee will be, but as sure as night follows day nothing will ever be the same again.
Capitalism or even State ownership does not mean the employees will receive a fair deal as the present day experience in Greece shows. State ownership does not mean the Greek Government rather the Chinese Government owned Cosco who now won fifty percent of the Port of Piraeus.
With Greece in financial dilemma, the Chinese took the opportunity shelling out $647 million dollars to get a foothold. Efficiency or as the Chinese commented "Every one here knows you must be hard working".
The harsh reality of privatization is hitting home with a sharp reduction in wages and job protection being the collateral damage. The thinking of capital is basically summed up this way I quote "We want to make money with work too many Europeans have pursued a comfortable, protected existence since world war two" unquote.
Sadly with privatization the Greek worker enjoyed at time enjoyed substantially more weekly income than the Chinese Government owned Cosco in fact today the Greek worker is payed seven times less than the Government owned stevedoring.
The deputy director at the Piraeus Port Authority recently commented about the Cosco operation "Its like another country here".
That is the reality facing Port Kembla if or when it is leased. In fact before getting back to Greece a harsh reality confronts Australia if a foreign enterprise secures the Port for ninety nine years.
Security is compromised with the owner having full operational control, not a realistic situation or practical if the truth is known.
Back to the Port of Piraeus the same deputy director has accused the sold off part of the port are using subcontractors to hire unskilled, non union workers desperate for jobs.The workers are exploited by paying low wages.
The Chinese are accused of cutting safety corners and initiating third world standards.
The privately run part of the port are accused victimizing any worker who have the temerity to raise concerns about safety violations.
A list of issues are clearly unsatisfactory to the Greek dock worker although it appears they the worker either accepts it or out the gate. The Chinese if they are the top bidder for Port Botany and Port Kembla have a saying regarding stevedoring "Cosco is their future we are here to stay".
Really is that what the people of NSW desire a Port controlled not by the people of NSW, the profits of what appears a futuristic port going to either a foreign government or a foreign enterprise, a port where workers safety and conditions now enjoyed taken away.
Naturally emotional arguments about being efficient will be raised the bottom line is at what cost?
Forget about the million dollars over ninety years for the Illawarra there are far more burning issues that require answering, is it a done deal, are we going to be cop are company coming in running over everything Australian.
The State Government from recent past experience will legislate to run roughshod over the community.