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indonesia / philippines / australia | workplace struggles | opinion / analysis Thursday September 15, 2005 10:29 by Dmitri - Anarkismo outetheos at yahoo dot com dot au
Now’s the time for a united fightback!
Based on a leaflet of the group Union Solidarity
Just 200 years ago workers were flogged for complaining and daring to organise. We were called convicts then. And slaves before that.
But then we began to organise. We got stronger and stronger. Those without power and privilege fought back.
We took industrial action and organised mass protests. We won the right to organise in unions. We won the right to a safer workplace. We won equal pay for women. We won the right to four weefe annual leave, long service leave and sick leave. Some unions won the 36-hour week.
More recently, a massive campaign of unions and community groups forced James Hardie to pay compensation to asbestos victims. The government didn’t force James Hardie to pay. It was union and community struggle which won this victory over a callous company. None of these things were just handed over.
Most of our industrial action was technically «illegal». We had to organise with our unions and community groups to win these rights.
But those who have always had the power, the employers, want it all back. They are willing to try to destroy our unions to claw it back.They don’t mind if unions exist as service organisations, as long as they don’t organise their members industrially.
That’s why the Coalition government is planning legislation to:
Remove conditions in awards such as redundancy pay, penalty rates, long service leave.
Introduce secret ballots before industrial action.
Make it easier for employers to impose australian workplace agreements (individual con-tracts) on workers.
End pattern or industry-wide bargaining.
Restrict the democratic right of workers to have their unions visit them in their workplaces more than twice a year.
Remove unfair dismissal pro-tection for workers in small businesses with fewer than 100 employees.
Remove redundancy payment rights for workers in small busi-nesses.
Specifically attack construc-tion industry unions and leave construction workers with less rights than other workers.
This is what the government wants to do, but there’s no guar-antee that they can get away with this plan.
Workers got where we are by organising together in unions and community groups.
The fact that the Howard government controls the Senate doesn’t mean it can bring in any law it wants, or make their bad laws work.
Sat 21 Dec, 04:01
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