By Lisa Macdonald
SYDNEY — The defence of wages, conditions and trade union rights are the themes of a number of public actions being planned around the ACTU Congress to be held in Sydney from August 30 to September 3 this year.
The actions are being called by the Sydney-based Rank and File Alliance which was formed six weeks ago and brings together rank-and- file trade unionists and left political organisations. This initiative to coordinate and build grassroots actions focussed on the ACTU Congress to protest the anti-worker policies and practices of the current trade union bureaucracy is the first of its kind in Sydney in over ten years.
In a statement adopted at a general meeting last Saturday, the Alliance demanded that the ACTU Congress adopt policies to repeal Sections 45D and E and all other anti-union laws, maintain the award system and refuse to enter into any negotiations with the ALP federal government which would allow enterprise agreements with non-union labour. The statement also calls on the ACTU to campaign to increase pensions to 35% of adult male average weekly earnings and to fight for real job creation by opposing all privatisation and campaigning for a shorter working week.
The Sydney actions around the Congress include demonstrations at the Congress opening and when Keating addresses the Congress, as well as a public meeting on the future for trade unions on Wednesday September 1.
Alliance spokesperson and Public Service Sector union delegate, Peggy Trompf, said in an appeal to ACTU Congress delegates, "The trade union movement must be independent. It must be free to act to look after the interests of its members and not confine itself to being a mouthpiece for government policy... We call on the ACTU to act to fulfill the needs of the workers of Australia".
[For more information about the Alliance telephone 798 6774.]