Saturday, 1 September 2007

Socialist Alliance media release on ALP IR policy

The trade union movement can only rely on itself

“The Australian Labor Party under Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard has ceased to be a party that in any serious way can be said to represent the interests of working people in Australia”, Socialist Alliance National Coordinator Dick Nichols said today.

“Those in the union movement who don’t see this, simply don’t want to see it”, he added.

Nichols said that it was “clear as day” that the union movement could only rely on its own strength, and called on all states to follow the Victorian Trades Hall example and call a massive independent union protest against Work Choices on September 26.

“The more the union movement has simply placed its hope in an ALP election victory and worked for it through its marginal seats campaign, the more it has allowed the Rudd-Gillard federal leadership to carry on abandoning pro-union and pro-worker policies”, he stressed.

“Now we have the disgusting spectacle, in the Rudd-Gillard ‘Policy Implementation Plan’ for industrial relations, of Labor maintaining Work Choices’ restrictions on union right of entry into the work place. This simply means that unions will not be able to do their job—bosses will be able to intimidate their employees, run unhealthy and unsafe working sites, and pay below agreed rates.

“No wonder both the Business Council of Australia and the Australian Industry Group have hailed the ALP’s plan ‘as an important step forward’—it entrenches the employer’s power in the workplace.”

Nichols said that anyone who doubted this should read the August 28 Open Letter to Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Victoria, which describes that union’s experience of workers in tears because they were forced to sign Australian Workplace Agreements that sacrificed their rights and conditions.

Nichols concluded with the comment that “the union movement has poured millions of members’ dollars into ALP coffers to help its re-election, and for this it has received a series of kicks in the head. It is money down the drain.

“It is now time for unionists to call on their leaders for a serious re-evaluation of the policy of using their money to support an anti-union, anti-worker party.”

INFORMATION: Dick Nichols (02 8011 4108)

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