May Day car convoy calls for no worker to be left behind

The May Day car convoy in Sydney. Photo: May 1 Movement / Facebook

About 100 vehicles joined a car convoy in Sydney to mark May Day, the international day of workers’ solidarity, on May 1.

The cars were emblazoned with posters and banners including: “Stop job cuts, climate jobs now”; “Immediate expansion of JobKeeper”; “Freeze rents, mortgages, evictions”; and “International solidarity for all”.

The convoy was organised by the May 1 Movement, and supported by the Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch; members of the National Tertiary Union NSW Division; the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union, construction and general division; and the United Workers Union.

The NSW Greens, Workers For Climate Action, Refugee Action Coalition, the Socialist Alliance, Solidarity and the Communist Party of Australia took part. The Australian Student Environment Network (ASEN), Water For Rivers, Tipping Point, Stop Adani, Galilee Blockade and Extinction Rebellion also participated.

The cavalcade gathered at the Domain beside Sydney Harbour and travelled slowly through the city, past the headquarters of the Liberal Party and the Fair Work Commission — both sources of many attacks on unions and workers’ rights.

A large group of cyclists, also displaying signs supporting union rights and the environment, led the convoy. Some protesters had gathered outside the Liberal Party headquarter and waved as the convoy passed by, honking horns and flashing lights.

NSW Police in cars and motorbikes accompanied the convoy. At the time of writing, no fines had been issued against organisers or participants, as had been threatened. In response to the police threat to issue $1000 fines, several organisations, and hundreds of individual members of unions had signed a petition calling for the right to celebrate May Day, safely, as this car convoy has shown can be done.

The successful May Day convoy shows that defending workers' rights and civil liberties can still be done during a pandemic.

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