Attacks on Workers - Fight Back!
Consider some of the things that have been thrown at unions over the term of the current Coalition Federal Government:
- The Trade Union Royal Commission
- The reinstatement of the ABCC
- Over 850 agreements have been terminated in the last three years, impacting approximately 120,000 workers
- Charges of blackmail against union officials for industrial action
- A relentless pursuit of union officials and members in the courts for legitimate industrial action
- A raft of new legislation seeking to constrain unions from representing their members, including proposals to increase secondary boycott fines to $10 million
- The introduction of the Registered Organisations Commission that aims to constrain all union activities through endless regulation and legal sanction
- The so-called Ensuring Integrity Bill, which is described by the ACTU in the following way: The Bill interferes with the right to freedom of association, the right to form and join trade unions and the right of trade unions to function freely
Sally McManus, Secretary of the ACTU has said: We have the harshest laws in the OECD against unions. Only in parts of the US are the laws equally harsh. Australian unions operate in an environment of no support and continual, vicious attacks.
Now is the time for a clear-eyed assessment of the threats we face.
This is no phony war. We must understand: The Coalition and their business mates want to destroy the union movement. Not reform or tame or any other euphemism - destroy. And they can see their goal in sight. Our membership is declining, industrial action is almost non-existent. We are constantly on the back foot.
Given all of this, it must be acknowledged that this is the time for strong, determined action in defence of the union movement. We are under attack, and we need to have the capacity to fight back and defend ourselves.
Sally McManus is right that the laws are broken and must be fixed - in their entirety. But to fix them we must have a fighting force capable of winning the struggles on the ground and defending unions when they are under attack.
This is why we need Workers Solidarity.
This is not the time for more of the same. The very existence of our union movement is under threat. We must ask ourselves: How bad does the situation have to get before we decide that enough is enough?
If not now, when? If not us, who?