The organisation of the May Day 2012 celebrations in Brisbane is in disarray and needs to be fixed. It has become a mates day at the beer tent for union organisers and a few rank and file – a pub with rides for the kids.
Both the venue and the day are wrong. Musgrave Park is a better place and 1st May is the right day (the internationally recognised day to celebrate workers’ struggle).
There is pressure from employers and public service managers for Labour Day to be moved to later in the year. They prefer to commemorate needless carnage on a beach in Turkey a hundred years ago and a day that is not the Queen’s birthday.
Other states have already made their concessions on May Day.
The bosses argue that because Anzac Day (Wednesday, 25 April), Labour Day (Monday, 7 May) and the Queen’s birthday (Monday, 11 June) are close together, Labour Day should be moved.
Unions need involvement from community groups, but the ALP is wary because no community group has reason to go to Labor in QLD anymore. The only stronghold left to the ALP is the unions and they are going to protect that to the detriment of the rank and file.
Needless to say, political and community groups are victims of our own lack of organisation. But unions should not be putting community groups on the back burner, they should be trying to engage with the community. Instead the QCU sent around a letter saying there is not enough space for community groups this year. Labour day is for everyone, they can’t stop us from marching and they can’t stop us from putting up our stalls. Back in the 1970s the Trades and Labour Council would not allow us in the march so the building workers let us in with them.
I think that unions should challenge parliament’s control of the workplace – Fair Work Australia is a nonsense when some workers are earning less than $10 per hour (for example kids under 15 have a minimum wage of $5 at Hungry Jacks. This is a disgrace!) and a tiny few are earning over $100 per hour (e.g. in mining, FIFO).
One tactic would be to run good union candidates against LNP and ALP in selected seats on union and community issues.
0407 687 016
Brisbane Labour Day Flyer
2012 MARCH ROUTE (Brisbane)