Meeting calls for June 30 protest

April 20, 2005

Andrew Martin, Brisbane

"I've had a gutful of the phraseology of boxing clever, keeping the powder dry and the troops disciplined. We must discuss genuine collectivism and solidarity", Bob Carnegie, an organiser for the Queensland Builders Labourers Federation, told a meeting organised by the Queensland Defend Our Unions Committee on April 9.

Convened to discuss the union response to the federal Coalition government's anti-union industrial relations "reform" agenda, the meeting was attended by 35 unionists.

Carnegie was criticising the trap of legalism that unions have fallen into and the lack of cross-union action. "Since the accord years of '83, the actions of unions in supporting each other have been abysmal. We either fight together or die singularly."

Howard Guille, state secretary of the National Tertiary Education Union, and Lara Nadj, a solicitor who outlined the likely effects of the proposed new laws, also addressed the meeting.

"The real issue is about smashing the role that unions play in affecting whole industries and the broader economy. It's important to recognise that the government is running a bosses agenda", explained Guille.

He proposed that the union movement needed to consider actions such as setting up a tent embassy outside the Industrial Relations Commission.

Dick Williams, state secretary of the Electrical Trades Union, broke the news that the Queensland Council of Unions was considering a whole week of protest action in the lead-up to June 30 in line with other protests taking place nationally.

The meeting unanimously endorsed a proposal put forward by the Defend our Unions Committee for mass protest action to take place on June 30 — the day before the Coalition parties gain control of the Senate — and the need for mass, cross-union delegates' meetings.

From Green Left Weekly, April 20, 2005.
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