Construction workers struggle in 2012 for the right to wear a union logo. Wearing a union badge is unbelievably declared ‘unlawful’ by Australia’s repressive “Labour” laws.
Daniel Grollo the Grocon boss is allowed by “law” to get anti-union injunctions issued by subserviant Supreme Court judges against such “unlawfulness.”
Judges hide their anti-union bias behind their “black letter law” interpretation and ignore the human right of workers to express political communication by wearing a union logo. Daniel Grollo asserts his money power to get the Premier to have thousands of police oppose these construction workers who are quite rightfully asserting their unionism by blockading building sites and quite rightfully having unionists interstate on Grocon sites take action and some other unionists in other sectors join in solidarity.
See my earlier post here on the Grocon dispute where the parties are in negotiations with the assistance of Fair Work Australia. At the same time Grollo’s lawyers pursue the CFMEU Victorian leadership for millions of dollars of “damage” for “disobeying” the court injunction and CFMEU does not attend such proceedings.
ee earlier report here
100 years ago the same class struggle had Brisbane workers strike for the right to wear a union badge.
“On January 30, as many as 22,000 Brisbane trade unionists conducted a general strike championing the right to join a union, after members of the Australian Tramway Employees Association were dismissed when they wore union badges to work earlier that month.
“It was suggested at the time that this was the first simultaneous strike in the world — the 42 Brisbane unions all struck at once and closed everything down,” Evans says.
After a series of workers’ rallies and mobs of protesters damaging businesses or forcing their closure, special constables, armed with batons, were sworn in to enforce order on the streets.
“The protesters marched all through the city and down into Fortitude Valley making sure all the businesses were closed down and attacking businesses that weren’t,” he says.
As well thousands of employees, public sector workers protested in Brisbane and in regional Queensland against the severe cuts to public servants and community services by right-wing Premier Campbell Newman.
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The Stand for Queensland website
Prison officers walk-off job
Queensland unions and Together are waging a strong community unionism campaign, getting thousands of members to take part in community campaign stalls, letterboxing and visiting local MPs. Some public sector unionists are active targetting mostly LNP MPs including the much-hated Premier Campbell Newman, himself, as their local member.
But history shows and I add my own at the United Trades and Labor Council of SA fighting similar cuts and privatisations such community action has not and won’t force Premier Newman to negotiate – it does not matter how much unionists hope that some negotiated “compromise” will occur – already it is too late for most public servants who already have lost their jobs. This union community organising although critical may be insufficient to stop the devastation to the public sector – hoping for an electoral return of the ALP who probably won’t reverse the cuts is a long time and is not much of a strategy.
As this blog has argued the debate has to focus on more miltant action – strikes and bans driven by the union members that really pressure the government and have more impact. The community campaign should aim to build community support for significant industrial strike action before it is too late.
From Workers Bush Telegraph
“At a time when literally thousands upon thousands of our fellow workers right across the state are staring down the barrel of a gun at mass sackings at the hands of a right wing government, every proud worker should ask of their union: if this is not the right moment for the union movement to begin to flex its mighty industrial muscle then when exactly is it the right time? By the time the collective bargaining period comes around there might indeed be few workers left to bargain for.
The feeling is palpable on the streets of Queensland. Many workers are expecting the unions to call and lead serious strikes against this government. Some workers are becoming disillusioned that this is not happening and some long term members are questioning why they remain union members at all. When our union leaders fail to act swiftly to start an effective fightback against job cuts, despair and despondency is bound to take hold in a threatened and now subsequently demoralised workplace. What our unions need is to be led by an agenda that relies entirely on the considerable industrial and social muscle of the united working class and not at all on the bosses’ parliaments, courts and electoral games.” Left pamphlet handed out at rallies.
Unionists promise to step up campaign against Newman at Cairns rally
Friday, September 14, 2012
By Jonathan Strauss, Cairns
Six hundred unionists rallied in Cairns’s City Place on September 12. Photo: standforqld.com.au
More than 600 unionists and supporters rallied in Cairns’ City Place as part of the statewide day of action against the Campbell Newman government’s budget cuts on September 12.
Larger groups of teachers, United Voice members, Ergon electricians, state public servants in purple Together Union T-shirts, and others, flanked contingents of ambulance officers and firefighters in uniform. The mood was sombre and intense, with people standing still and listening more quietly than usual to the speakers.
After Cairns branch president of the Queensland Council of Unions Stuey Traill gave an introduction to the rally, several union delegates and activists addressed the crowd.
Mikey Bond, a school cleaner and United Voice delegate from Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, was the first to speak. He explained how he not only cleaned his school, making sure it was ready for the students and teachers to use each day, but helped the school look after the students and was able to talk with them about their culture.
He said the Newman government’s model for a school cleaner was someone working fewer hours for lower pay in the dead of night, or perhaps even “a robot with a mop”. Read the article here
Similar issues face public sector unionists in the US suffering from right-wing Republican destruction of social services and anti-union rights. I feature the debate over ‘Wisconsin Uprising’ on this blog.