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Queensland job cuts — edge of darkness?

Everybody knows that Queensland Labor had a Party 
Everybody knows the fight was fixed  so
the poor stay poor, and  the rich stay rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the Bligh’s boat was leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father was a scab or their mother just died.

— with apologies to Leonard Cohen

Amidst the usual debate of militancy vs caution (i.e. doing nothing) what’s the strategy being put forward to win job security?

The state government program is an attack on civil society – on organisations, NGOs and unions — an attempt to privatize the public sector and to make the state debt the responsibility of workers.

At the heart of this question is the acceptance by many in our society of the right of the boss to hire and fire.

Some unions subscribe to this thinking even though it is workers who create the services, the wealth, security for young and old, and better community.

Qld Working Women’s Service Funding Cuts

Funding Cuts to Queensland Health and Communities
Management do not create jobs – they represent the owners of capital seeking profit, the quick fix, self-interest and elitism.

Even if management did side with workers the system will soon chuck them on the scrapheap as well i.e. the last person on the redundancy queue is the boss.

So where is the strategy to seek a political solution to this flaw in our consciousness —acceptance by workers of the master/servant relationship?

Once a strategy is worked out where is the organisation to ensure success?

How do workers build organisation? We have to remember that workers are the union – not someone in union office!

These are the questions we must address in the struggles ahead.

Queensland is not as bad as Greece or Spain – no matter what the pain – we have a mining boom but they have only cuts and unemployment of 25%.

Ian Curr
July 2012

Rallies
Brisbane Monday 16 July: Parliament House, corner of Alice and George Streets, Brisbane CBD. 5:15pm for a 5:30pm start.

Bundaberg Friday 13 July: Assembly on Quay St, Bundaberg outside the government office building at 12:00 pm.

Cairns Friday 13 July: Assembly outside the Cairns Court House on Sheridan Street at 12:30pm.

Gold Coast Friday 13 July: Assembly outside Rob Molhoek MP’s office, 24 Musgrave Avenue Southport, at 5:15pm for a 5:30pm start.

Mackay Friday 13 July: Town Hall Park, Sydney Street Mackay at 12:30pm.

Maryborough Thursday 12 July: Corner of Alice and Lennox Streets Maryborough, 12:00pm.

Rockhampton Friday 13 July: Fountain Park George Street, opposite Hungry Jacks, 12:00pm.

Toowoomba Saturday 14 July: Margaret Street between Grand Central and Garden Town shopping centres. Start at 10:00am, finish at 11:30am.

Townsville Friday 13 July: Suncorp Building, Sturt Street Townsville, starting 12:15pm, finishing 12:45pm.

More info

http://www.facebook.com/togetherqueensland
“Great response for all the regional events and rallies – be sure to keep asking friends and colleagues to come! For those planning on attending the Brisbane rally who aren’t familiar with where Parliament House is, this map may be useful.” — Together Union

5 responses to “Queensland job cuts — edge of darkness?

  1. Hi all,

    Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. A summary of the first Queensland Uncut organising meeting held on Thursday 2 August is below, and longer meeting notes are attached.

    Summary
    On Thursday 2 August, approximately 70 people attended the first organising meeting of Queensland Uncut at the Trades and Labour Council offices in South Brisbane. This meeting followed the successful Queensland Uncut public launch meeting held on Thursday 19 July. At the meeting, participants agreed to partial audio recording for radio publicity purposes, heard from invited speakers, participated in general discussion and Q&A about the latest community sector cuts, and debated and decided on future actions and activities for the group. At the conclusion of the meeting, a leaflet/poster committee met to organise the development and printing of written material advertising Queensland Uncut’s upcoming actions and activities with the aim of having these ready by Thursday 10 August for distribution.

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  2. Queensland UNCUT: Building an alliance to build the fight-back

    Note Meeting Date change

    After a successful launch meeting of more than 150 people on July 19, an organising meeting will be held: same time, same place, on Thursday 26 July. Hope you can make it 🙂

    UNCUT is a community forum to discuss and organise against the Newman Government’s attacks on our community and public sector.

    Bring yourself, a notebook and pen, and your fighting spirit.

    Thursday 2nd August
    6.15 for a 6.30 start
    Queensland Council of Unions building –
    16 Peel Street, South Brisbane

    See http://www.facebook.com/events/159432740859255/

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  3. 'Shag on a Rock' politics

    At one point of the rally of 4,500 unionists, a speaker on the platform said: ‘does this (government job cuts) remind you of something?’

    The ‘ambo’ in front of me yelled out ‘Joh!’

    Not hearing the interjection, the speaker answered his own question: ‘The Howard government and WorkChoices’

    The ‘Your Rights at Work’ campaign was about conditions. This fightback in Qld is about jobs.

    The union wants to negotiate redundancies without losing conditions but not to challenge the power of government to cut 20,000 jobs and to ruin the economy. For this is apolitical struggle …

    WorkChoices was a policy for a recession to come – softening up the workers.

    Leahy's cartoon

    Unions in Qld and Victoria are worried about loss of award conditions, ‘no compulsory redundancies’, parental leave, etc.

    The unions are like a ‘shag on a rock’ without a ‘favourable’ government in power.

    Rudd was their answer to Howard – not of the left, but someone who would give them cover – or so they thought.

    I looked at some of the faces in the crowd and saw some serious looks on the ground before the cabaret act onstage. Vivienne Doogan, President of Together and chief negotiator, accused some in the crowd of voting for the LNP. Maybe further up George Street, but not in this crowd.

    The alternative to the ‘shag on a rock strategy’ is worker or union power regardless of who is in government. This requires an extra-parliamentary opposition, at least for cover.

    The Queensland state government program to cut 20,000 jobs is an attack on civil society — on organisations, NGOs and unions — an attempt to privatize the public sector and to make the state debt the responsibility of workers.

    At the heart of this question is the acceptance by many in our society of the right of the boss to hire and fire.

    Some unions subscribe to this thinking even though it is workers who create the services, the wealth, security for young and old, and better community.

    FightBack Uncut YouTube

    [00:04] ‘Workers united will never be defeated’
    [02:14] Welcome Unions present
    [03:42] Introduction – Newman only a tenant
    [04:00] Vivienne Doogan, President of Together, main Union Negotiator
    [09:15] VD says ‘… some of you voted for the LNP government …’ – (Ed. Note: I don’t think so)
    [11:06] VD calls on CN to honour election promises
    [13:40] Workers united …what are you going to do?
    [14:55] Jennifer Thomas – Secretary, Australian Services Union talks about community sector.
    [18:55] Video about ambulance services – United Voice Union.
    [22:18] Statement of Owan Dooghan (QRail Tram Bus Union) read out
    [32:18] Angie – Parks & Wildlife worker, Cairns
    [34:07] Stuart – Youth worker, T’vlle
    [36:13] Jamie – Child Safety manager
    [44:57] WorkChoices – 15K people?
    [00:04] ‘Workers united will never be defeated’
    [45:50] Safety net of Qld people electing Labor
    [46:16] Alex Scott – President of ‘Together’
    [53:19] Newman from Seinfeld comment
    [54:26] Chants till end

    Ian Curr
    17 July 2012

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  4. Queensland UNCUT: Building an alliance to build the fight-back.

    Speakers:
    Jennifer Thomas of the Australian Services Union
    Rachael Jacobs of The Greens
    Jackie Trad MP, Labor Member for South Brisbane
    Kate Flanders of Together
    Father Terry Fitzpatrick of St Mary’s in Exile
    Jess Payne of Equal Love

    UNCUT is a community forum to discuss and organise against the Newman Government’s attacks on our community and public sector.

    Bring yourself, a notebook and pen, and your fighting spirit.

    Thursday 19 July
    6.15 for a 6.30 start
    Queensland Council of Unions building –
    16 Peel Street, South Brisbane

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  5. What Jobs are to go
    According to sources the workers to be sacked are those defined as performing ‘non-critical’ and ‘non-frontline’ services. These include functions not already performed by the private sector. Support ‘staff’ working in payroll departments. park rangers, corporate staff including HR people (who will be the last to turn out the lights?).

    ‘There is a lot of gallows humour’ in all this said WBT source when he heard that another manager (while sacking workers) had said that ‘this will be a redundancy led recovery‘. He was alluding to the fact that the government would e taking $1 billion in wages out of the economy each year and that there would be a flow-on that would effect other sectors like the services sector.

    Meanwhile the Together Union has a nine point plan and is trying to save award conditions like parental leave and retrenchment pay. Union members can go to the together union website for these details.

    Our source advises the union to give up trying to negotiate with the government because its approach is ‘slash & burn’ and does not wish to speak with the union. The advice was to go to arbitration through the QIRC (Industrial Relations Commission). I asked what would be the response if either state or federal government stopped enterprise bargaining. Our source said that was possible but in the meantime the union is trying to keep the conditions it has. Union membership is growing. Both Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott plan to abolish Enterprise bargaining thus forcing unions to bargain directly with the boss. How many unions are geared up for that level of confrontation? The BLF – yes but which white collar unions are?

    I asked if management should have the power to hire and fire. The retort was: ‘ should they have sacked the Tahitian prince? answer he gave was ‘yes’. People who behave badly (theft, assault) should be sacked. But what about retrenchments? does management have the right? The source says that there are layers to management and this goes right to the top (i.e. Campell Newman). The source said the government had done a few good things like get rid of the ‘Beattie Burger‘ (the emblem on all state government corres.) and that all annual reports are now to be in black and white with no pretty pictures and gloss. He said that the best low down on what is going on does not come from the Courier mail it comes from Tony Moore in the Brisbane Times. The column is called ‘the Watcher’.

    The Gillard government made cuts to the Qld Working Women’s Service (QWWS) because they thought that it was trying to undermine the Fair Work Australia legislation. The opposite was the case. Now the Campbell Newman government has slashed the state funding to the QWWS. The QWWS provides help to thousands of women in Qld in their employment – advocacy and information services that they have provided since 1994 will be cut almost completely depending on alternative funding that can be acquired. QWWS needs $500K to function, the Federal Government has offered $100K, it is not enough to have the service operate at all! see http://www.qwws.org.au

    Workers BushTelegraph will try to get to the bottom of this – by seeking out more info over the coming weeks. If anyone has information that is helpful please let me know. WBT protects its sources.

    Interviews with workers directly affected are at http://soundcloud.com/ian-curr/sets/queensland-edge-of-darkness

    Ian Curr
    Black Friday 2012

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