ACTU changes date for national day of action


Sue Bolton, Melbourne

At its August 24 executive meeting, the Australian Council of Trade Unions decided to postpone the planned national day of action against the federal government's anti-union laws to November 15.

The ACTU's rationale for delaying the action is so that it occurs after the government's comprehensive anti-union legislation is tabled in parliament. The Coalition government, however, isn't waiting for the main piece of legislation before shafting workers.

A number of anti-union laws are expected to be passed in parliament before October, including the building union legislation, legislation making workers in companies with less than 100 employees ineligible to access unfair dismissal or redundancy laws, legislation that bars "independent contractors" from union representation, legislation making it compulsory for all commonwealth-funded employees to be offered an Australian Workplace Agreement, and laws to overturn workers' right to choose their health and safety representatives on jobs that receive federal funding.

In this context, some unionists believe that the national day of action should be earlier.

The ACTU is pushing for the actions in each city to be held in a venue with Sky Channel video link-up access, so that each rally will hear the same set of speakers.

Victorian unions will participate in the November 15 national day of action by mobilising several thounsand workers in Melbourne at 9am in Federation Square for the Sky Channel video link-up. After the video link-up, tens of thousands more workers will gather for a monster rally and march that brings the city to a halt.

The VTHC and Unions WA have organised mass, all-union delegates' meetings, on September 7 in Melbourne and September 13 in Perth. They aim to strengthen delegates' roles in directing the campaign.

Unions NSW has organised a "Your Rights at Work" bus tour of regional NSW. The tour is combined with public meetings in each town visited. In Melbourne, the Electrical Trades Union is organising a strong union presence at the grand final of the Victorian Football League.

From Green Left Weekly, August 31, 2005.
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