'Dare to struggle' against anti-union laws
By Jim McIlroy
BRISBANE — "Dare to struggle" should be the slogan of the trade union movement in its fight against workplace relations minister Peter Reith's second wave of anti-union laws, Andrew Vickers told a forum here on November 17. Vickers is the Queensland president of the mining division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union.
The forum was organised by the Defend Our Unions Committee.
Vickers described the campaigns by the miners' union at Gordonstone, Blair Athol, Oakdale and the Hunter Valley against vicious anti-union attacks by mining companies, backed by the federal government.
Joe Texeira expressed the East Timorese community's support for Australian unions' right to take industrial action on solidarity issues, stressing the importance of union campaigns in defence of the people of East Timor.
Tom Bramble from the National Tertiary Education Industry Union spoke about how the recent battles between university administrations and the NTEU around the country were testing the new laws.
Jeff Rickertt from the DOUC compared the current crisis faced by the Australian union movement to crises in the 1890s and the 1930s.
A resolution was passed unanimously calling on the Queensland Council of Unions to convene immediately a meeting of affiliated unions to build an industrial campaign against the second wave; to call a mass stop-work rally and march in Brisbane on November 29, the scheduled date for the presentation of the Senate report on the legislation; and to call on the ACTU to convene a national conference of union delegates to discuss building a campaign.