Monday, 7 April 2008

The Waterfront - 10 Years On

Hanging in pride of place in the Wombat Hole is a framed piece of the Australian newspaper, dated May 8, 1998, with Jenny George, the CFMEU's Martin Kingham and others leading a beaming bunch of workers forward under the slogan "Back At Work". It seems appropriate, therefore, on the 10th anniversary of the 1998 Waterfront Dispute, to take a quick look at the "State of the Unions", after more than a decade of Howard, union-bashing, WorkChoices and the Your Rights At Work campaign.

On the Waterfront, workers downed tools at this morning and held a minute's silence to mark the occasion, and MUA secretary Paddy Crumlin dismissed any effect the dispute may have had on the union, and jobs. On the contrary, the chickens are beginning to come home to roost: #1, #2, #3, #4.

From the Waterfront Dispute, to the present day, and things continue to look interesting:
Over at Green Left Weekly, the latest news is that the NSW Teachers' Federation is leading its members out on a strike tomorrow, after the NSW Government refused to negotiate a state-wide staffing agreement.

The campaign against electricity privatisation in NSW continues, with the May Day Committee deciding to move the day of the May Day march this year in order to coincide with the NSW ALP emergency State Conference. This is no small bikkies, as even Bob Gould has pointed out.

Down in Victoria, 65 workers occupied the factory of SEP Print after the company sacked its workforce without notice and went into receivership on March 20.
Union Solidarity is still chugging along too. Also in Victoria, the CFMEU is continuing on a wage campaign in the construction industry. This is despite the ongoing existence and persistence of the ABCC, a protest against which will be held this Thursday in Sydney.
In Adelaide, the fight is on to save Work Cover, currently under attack frm the state "Labor" government.

Of course, while they might have won the battle against WorkChoices, the unions (and all workers, in fact), are still up against Labor's WorkChoices-lite of "Forward With Fairness". And that won't go away without a fight.

Despite whatever good work they might be doing elsewhere, however, the unions are still a tad shoddy at dealing with Climate Change. Some of them will be at the Climate Change | Social Change Conference this weekend, however, along with others in the vanguard of the struggle to save the world. (Small things, we know..).

1 comment:

Bush Telegraph said...

See After the Waterfront - the workers are quiet @ http://wpos.wordpress.com/ for one view of the state of the unions