12 June 2019

Some good news: “Since the privatisation of Victoria’s coal-fired power stations in the 1990s, the Latrobe Valley has been known for high unemployment. But now one group of workers has taken the task of creating new jobs into their own hands. … [S]ince the closure of the Hazelwood power station in 2016 the group has taken steps to realise its dream of a worker-owned factory in the industrial town of Morwell.” When a local manufacturer shut down, the Earthworker Energy Manufacturing Cooperative stepped in and purchased their plant, equipment and intellectual property, and has now begun producing solar powered hot water systems. The group says: “At Earthworker Energy, the workers are the owners. Each member has equal voting rights and decisions are made democratically. We have no boss or external shareholders. This means we ensure our workplace is safe, we are invested in the quality of the goods we produce, we make decisions in the interest of our local community and profits are shared equally and locally. … We believe that if we are to properly care for our environment, our communities and those of future generations, then we need a proper say in the economy. Bringing democracy into the workplace is a good place to start.”