CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood has called off the Easter strike by Customs, Border Force & Quarantine workers. Ms Flood claimed that the reason was because of the need for greater security in the aftermath of the Brussels terrorist attacks.
A more likely reason for calling off the strike was Malcolm Turnbull’s declaration that he will call an election when opposition parties refuse to pass anti-union legislation in the senate, the so-called ABCC bill.
The CPSU is affiliated with the Labor Party and would not wish union members’ campaign for a better EBA to interfere with ALP chances in the threatened election on 2 June 2016. The union has sacrificed its members interests for the sake of parliamentary election. Yet airport workers have voted against the government’s proposed EBA on three occasions.
CPSU officials have placed electoral ambitions of the Labor Party ahead of its members interests. The union’s own website points out that airport workers ‘are deeply angry and disappointed that after six months the Prime Minister has still given them no-one in Government to talk to, no avenue to actually pursue these concerns and they still face attacks on their rights and, for a number of officers, cuts to their take-home pay. That’s why they are striking, that’s why this dispute needs to be resolved … The Government has refused to talk to us since last October despite this dispute affecting 130,000 Commonwealth employees. Every Commonwealth agency, Immigration and Border Protection included, is bound by Government bargaining policy forcing them to cut workers’ rights.’
It is true that in the latter part of the 19th century the unions formed the Labor Party to try to win better conditions through the ballot box. This was OK while the unions controlled the ALP but now the ALP controls unions and has sacrificed their members for election gains that have not resulted in better conditions.
Union need to separate themselves from the Labor Party and fight solely for members interests.
CFMEU national construction secretary Dave Noonan has warned that the ABCC bills contain a code which is an attack on workers.
“This is, if you like, the Government’s template for a return to WorkChoices-style laws,” Mr Noonan said.
He pointed to various clauses in the code, which prohibits certain content being placed Workplace agreements.
“The code (Cl 11) says, for example, workers can’t have an agreement with any limitations on casualisation of their workplace,” Mr Noonan said.
“The code says it would be illegal for an agreement to require an employer to have a ratio of apprentices to tradespeople — that’s been common in the industry on the basis of people wanting to promote apprenticeship opportunities for young Australians.
“The code would provide that there can’t be any restriction on hiring workers on temporary overseas work visas — some agreements would have a provision to say that the employer should seek workers locally before they go overseas looking for temporary workers.”
Former ALP officials in the CPSU
Union members do not need anymore opportunists like Stephen Jones! Like Nadine Flood Stephen Jones was national secretary of the CPSU. He gained pre-selection for the federal seat of Throsby in late 2009, following the resignation of former Member Jennie George (former ACTU president). Jones was endorsed as the Labor candidate after the intervention of the Labor Party national executive who overturned local pre-selection process . He successfully gained the seat at the 2010 federal election.
Union members need unions to fight for them not to carry on factional disputes inside the ALP.