Inside the ACTU

The following article deals with three major questions in our unions.

They are:

  1. Abolish Australian Building & Construction Commission
  2. Stop the NT Intervention
  3. WorkChoices – History of local action in Brisbane against WorkChoices

The articles also provide links to other posts relating to these issues.

Ian Curr
17 June 2009

PLEASE PLACE ANY COMMENTS CORRECTIONS BY CLICKING REPLY BELOW.

Abolish Australian Building & Construction Commission

The building unions in Australia are trying to get rid of the Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC). It was a recommendation of the Cole Royal Commission to attack building unions.

Union members support these attempts.

The ABCC is a commission that was set up under the Howard government and continued under the Rudd Labor government. It is used to harrass and intimidate unions and their members. Over 200 workers have been dragged up before the ABCC since it was set up. They are threatened with imprisonment.

WA CFMEU official Noel Washington was threatened with prison under the Labor government. Because of pressure from the unions an inquiry was set up, called the Wilcox Inquiry which has recommended that the ABCC legislation to be moved across to Fair Work Australia, the ALP government’s IR legislation. Labor has also retained the secondary boycott legislation that was used against the meatworkers union during the Hawke labor government.

Now this legislation, design for times when capitalism is is crisis, is to be used against workers during the current recession.

Click on the following which is a speech given by David Noonan and one of the members, Ark Tribe, who is a rigger in SA and a proud member of the CFMEU Construction division

Ark received a standing ovation for his speech.

Be patient it may take a little while to load but it is well worth listening to (30 mins playing time). LIsten to it in the background while you read the rest of this peice.

The recording begins with a video (sound only) that was played to the ACTU congress on 2 June 2009 in Brisbane. Then Dave Noonan speaks followed by Ark, the rigger who has been threatened with jail by the ABCC for refusing to dob in his mates at work.

Just before the 1983 election Ralph Willis, the future minister for employment & industrial relations in the Hawke govt, told public sector workers at a mass meeting of the ACOA and other public sector unions at Festival hall that we could expect nothing if Labor won the election. He was true to his word.

They gave us the Accord and never repealed the laws against secondary boycotts. So the ALP distanced itself from the unions even before the election that time around. We suffer no illusions, this may be the last
throw of the dice for the unions and, ironically, for many of us older workers.

This time around the unions have distanced themselves from the Rudd ALP government quicker than they did last time in 1983. Then the ACTU stuck with the ALP throughout the term of the Hawke & Keating governments, only unions like the Builders Labourers Federation BLF broke free. The BLF in Qld stuck with the ALP government whereas down south they were deregistered & made illegal by the Hawke government.

References:

After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet

Audio file

Abolish Australian Building & Construction Commission

Stop the NT Intervention

Blacks Deaths in Custody and the NT Intervention have given rise protest action, ABC current affairs programs (Who Killed Mr Ward?) and court actions by the state (the Trial of lex Wotton). We don’t hear much of what goes on in Australia’s other parliament, the ACTU. Well this year the ACTU congress was held in Brisbane and the following is a recording of speakers who oppose the intervention.

ACTU delegates passed a motion opposing the Rudd labor government’s support of the NT intervention.

The first speaker is Kara, an aboriginal woman working in the ACTU and Qld unions on indigenous issues.

The second  was the President of the Federal Police Officers union who spoke strongly against the federal intervention in the Northern Territory.

Sharan Burrows (ACTU president) summed up and put the motion to the congress. The audio file of these speeches is below. Just click on it.

ACTU on NT Intervention

Be patient the sound file will take a little time to load.

WorkChoices

History of local action in Brisbane against WorkChoices

Rank and File Group Speaking Platform at WorkChoices Rally on Thursday 30th November 2006
Women against Spotlight AWAs Some unions (including ETU and LHMU) will march to and from the Union rally at South Bank on Thursday morning.

The West End Rank and File group has organised a speaking platform at South Bank on Thursday morning.

Contact Bernie Nevile on 3300 1405 or annacal@uqconnect.net

The QCU website states:

“Take action on November 30 – all around Queensland! Attend a venue from 8:30am onwards to watch the ACTU broadcast from the MCG”

So no march is planned and no speakers apart from the broadcast from the MCG.

In Brisbane, the Rank and File platform may be the only live platform on the day! I heard from a couple of rank and file people on the weekend that the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) are marching from Musgrave to South Bank for the broadcast and then marching back after.

The Qld Council of Unions (QCU) do not appear to be even pretending that they are doing anything anymore.

If the Left were properly organised it could (in alliance with the Communications Electrical & Plumbers Unions (including the ETU), Construction Forestry Mining & Engineering Union & Builders Labourers Federation (Qld), the Qld Teachers Union, the LHMU (Misos) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) probably take over the entire day.

It is clear that these unions will be the mainstay of the protest.

Come to the open platform organised by the Rank and File Group.

<strong>Inside the ACTU</strong>
<strong>

<blockquote>The building unions in Australia are trying to get rid of the Australian Building &amp; Construction Commission. It was a recommendation of the Cole Royal Commission to attack building unions.

Union members support these attempts.

The ABCC is a commission that was set up under the Howard government and continued under the Rudd Labor government. It is used to harrass and intimidate unions and their members. Over 200 workers have been dragged up before the ABCC since it was set up. They are threatened with imprisonment. WA CFMEU official Noel Washington was threatened with prison under the Labor government. Because of pressure from the unions an inquiry was set up, called the Wilcox Inquiry which has recommended that the ABCC legislation to be moved across to Fair Work Australia, the ALP government’s IR legislation. Labor has also retained the secondary boycott legislation that was used against the meatworkers union during the Hawke labor government.

Now this legislation, design for times when capitalism is is crisis, is to be used against workers during the current recession.

Click on the following which is <a href=”https://bushtelegraph.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/building-unions-oppose-abcc-at-actu-congress.mp3&#8243; rel=”nofollow”>a speech given by David Noonan and one of the members, Art, who is a rigger in SA and a proud member of the CFMEU Construction division</a> . He receive a standing ovation for his speech. Be patient it may take a little while to load but it is well worth listening to. It begins with the audio of a video that was played to the ACTU congress on 2 June 2009 in Brisbane. Then Dave Noonan speaks followed by Ark, the rigger who has been threatened with jail by the ABCC for refusing to dob in his mates at work.</blockquote></strong>

Just before the 1983 election Ralph Willis, the future minister for
employment &amp; industrial relations in the Hawke govt,  told public sector workers at a mass meeting of the ACOA and other public sector unions at Festival hall that we could expect nothing if Labor won the election. He was true to his word.

They gave us the Accord and never repealed the laws against secondary
boycotts. So the ALP distanced itself from the unions even before the
election that time around. We suffer no illusions, this may be the last
throw of the dice for the unions and, ironically, for many of us older workers.

This time around the unions have distanced themselves from the Rudd ALP government quicker than they did last time in 1983. Then the ACTU stuck with the ALP throughout the term of the Hawke &amp; Keating governments, only unions like the Builders Labourers Federation BLF broke free. The BLF in Qld stuck with the ALP government whereas down south they were deregistered &amp; made illegal by the Hawke government.

Ian Curr
2 June 2009

PLEASE PLACE ANY COMMENTS CORRECTIONS BY CLICKING REPLY BELOW.

References:

<a href=”http://wpos.wordpress.com&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet</a>

Audio file = https://bushtelegraph.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/building-unions-oppose-abcc-at-actu-congress.mp3

3 responses to “Inside the ACTU

  1. Inside the ACTU

    Inside the ACTU

    The building unions in Australia are trying to get rid of the Australian Building & Construction Commission. It was a recommendation of the Cole Royal Commission to attack building unions.

    Union members support these attempts.

    The ABCC is a commission that was set up under the Howard government and continued under the Rudd Labor government. It is used to harrass and intimidate unions and their members. Over 200 workers have been dragged up before the ABCC since it was set up. They are threatened with imprisonment. WA CFMEU official Noel Washington was threatened with prison under the Labor government. Because of pressure from the unions an inquiry was set up, called the Wilcox Inquiry which has recommended that the ABCC legislation to be moved across to Fair Work Australia, the ALP government’s IR legislation. Labor has also retained the secondary boycott legislation that was used against the meatworkers union during the Hawke labor government.

    Now this legislation, design for times when capitalism is is crisis, is to be used against workers during the current recession.

    Click on the following which is a speech given by David Noonan and one of the members, Art, who is a rigger in SA and a proud member of the CFMEU Construction division . He receive a standing ovation for his speech. Be patient it may take a little while to load but it is well worth listening to. It begins with the audio of a video that was played to the ACTU congress on 2 June 2009 in Brisbane. Then Dave Noonan speaks followed by Ark, the rigger who has been threatened with jail by the ABCC for refusing to dob in his mates at work.

    Just before the 1983 election Ralph Willis, the future minister for
    employment & industrial relations in the Hawke govt, told public sector workers at a mass meeting of the ACOA and other public sector unions at Festival hall that we could expect nothing if Labor won the election. He was true to his word.

    They gave us the Accord and never repealed the laws against secondary
    boycotts. So the ALP distanced itself from the unions even before the
    election that time around. We suffer no illusions, this may be the last
    throw of the dice for the unions and, ironically, for many of us older workers.

    This time around the unions have distanced themselves from the Rudd ALP government quicker than they did last time in 1983. Then the ACTU stuck with the ALP throughout the term of the Hawke & Keating governments, only unions like the Builders Labourers Federation BLF broke free. The BLF in Qld stuck with the ALP government whereas down south they were deregistered & made illegal by the Hawke government.

    Ian Curr
    2 June 2009

    PLEASE PLACE ANY COMMENTS CORRECTIONS BY CLICKING REPLY BELOW.

    References:

    After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet

    Audio file = https://bushtelegraph.wordpress.com/files/2009/06/building-unions-oppose-abcc-at-actu-congress.mp3

    Like

  2. Gary MacLennan

    Hi Ian,

    thank you for the report on the ACTU. I hope the building workers win. However I think it is important to understand that this is yet another defensive struggle. The unions do not seem to be going on the offensive at all. Of course this is mostly because the ALP is in government and the ACTU thinks getting the ALP elected is going on the offensive.

    But it is extremely worrying that there does not appear to be a challenge to the status quo along the ecological and the economic fronts. Stephens and Henry have been given a free hand with the economic crisis.

    Meanwhile Rudd has caved into the propaganda from the Bosses that to do anything about the environment is to be anti-job and by implication anti-working class.

    Of course the truth is that the most heavily polluting industries such as mining are not job intensive. Indeed if we moved seriously to green transport and renewable energy then thousands of jobs would be created.

    Michael Moore has just penned a piece on solutions to the crisis at GM and something like these ideas need to be raised here in Australia.

    However I see no sign at all that the union movement even suspects that there is a need for ideas beyond the election of the Labor Party.

    It is indeed in the area of ideas that I feel we can make the best contribution. The alternatives of tailing the union bureaucracy and waiting for them to do something or of waxing sentimental over tales of rank and file militancy are truly hopeless.

    Let’s do some serious thinking and propagandizing.

    comradely

    Gary

    Like

  3. Viola Wilkins

    Some good solidarity action during the ACTU event :
    Aussie unionists block traffic to support Air New Zealand workers

    Australian transport unions blocked the busy intersection outside Air New Zealand’s Brisbane HQ on 3rd June in solidarity with the Air New Zealand 320 crew. The solidarity protest by the Transport Workers Union, Maritime Union of Australia and the Rail, Tram and Bus Union came against the backdrop of the triennial Australian Council of Trade Unions congress and shows anger over Air New Zealand’s behaviour toward workers in its subsidiary is spreading across the Tasman.

    VIDEOS Check out the “Air New Zealand Shame On You” chants & footage here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S1Oi1r0l3Q

    Zeal crew member and EPMU delegate Kirsty Barrett-Hamilton addresses the Australian solidarity protest. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUF7sKeLwHU&feature=related

    PHOTOGRAPHS: http://www.flickr.com/photos/epmu/sets/72157619215305246/detail/ There’s more, including speeches, at http://www.epmu.org.nz/youtube

    License public domainThis work is in the public domain.

    +++++++++++++++++

    Thursday 11th June 09 marks the launch of Unite’s Campaign for a Living Wage – to get an immediate rise in the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and then to set it at 2/3rds of the average wage.

    When: 11 June 2009 2:00pm – 4:00pm

    Where: Mt. Albert War Memorial Hall 751 New North Road, Mt Albert Auckland, New Zealand

    http://www.unite.org.nz

    campaign@unite.org.nz

    450,000 people are paid less than $15 an hour. 100,000 workers are on the minimum wage of $12.50. That’s not enough to live on. We’re standing up against poverty wages and we’re going to need you. It’s time to put workers first.

    Like

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