by Bernie Neville
The Price’s and Incomes Accord of Hawke and Keating by any other name would still smell the same, like a dead skunk in the middle of the road, it was the Accord which saw a sharp decline in real wages and it was the Hawke government that oversaw the privatisation of Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank. Now Rudd and his little mate NSW-ALP Premier Iemma want to privatise the electricity industry in that state. Not one word of criticism by union officials of Rudd who gave his blessing to the sell off. At a Sydney meeting of unions in the second week of February Rudd was reported to have said that his little mate “Premier Iemma had his full support for the sale of the states electricity industry.”
The CFMEU construction chief Dave Noonan said on the 19th of February that the watch dog ABCC put in place by the government of John Howard treats workers like “second class citizens”. CFMEU leader Kevin Reynolds said that the fight would be taken up to the ABCC. “It will come to a head” he said. “Workers are getting sick to death of not been able to take action over their conditions.” Dave Noonan said.” These are not Labor law’s, they are John Howard’s law.” Sorry Dave – they are now Rudd’s law and his deputy Julia Gillard will see that they are carried out. She said she will keep the tough cop on the beat and show zero tolerance, she also said she will come down on you like a ton of bricks. Should any of your workers step out of line, she will have no shortage of bricks in the building industry.
When construction workers in Western Australia stopped work at the Mandurah railway site they copped a $10,000 dollar fine, and what was the response of the ACTU? Sharon Burrow said “we will stand by the workers and their families and help them with their legal costs and fines.” Not good enough – refuse to pay the fines and take the fight back to the shop floor and if this means conflict with the Rudd government so be it.
Teachers in Victoria submitted a claim for a 30% wage increase over the next three years the Premier of that state John Brumby has offered them a pay rise of 3.25% over a three year period which would not even keep pace with inflation. This is a state which pays their senior teachers less than every other state in Australia. Teachers in Victoria also have the worst working conditions and greater work loads. It’s time for the ALP both state and federal to drop the threats of legal action and loosen the purse strings.
Honorary member of the ETU
Phone 07-3300-1405 04 374-397 54