The National Union of Workers released this statement on October 23.
* * *
Recently the Victorian Trades Hall Council passed a resolution that included this statement: “That VTHC celebrates the contribution to our community from Victorians of many cultures and many faiths. There is no place in Victoria for discrimination or racism and we deplore those who would demonise any group by reason of their faith, race or culture.
“Affiliates pledge to work alongside groups and organisations representing our many faiths and communities to counter those that oppose multiculturalism and in particular those individuals and groups that are currently fostering anti-Muslim sentiment.”
The National Union of Workers is a diverse democratic organisation that is underpinned by values of inclusivity, respect and equality. We exist as a vehicle for working people to show solidarity to other working people and participate in politics as part of a progressive social movement.
The NUW therefore condemns racism and actions that aim to divide us, or instil hatred or violence towards other people because of background, faith, gender, sexuality or employment status.
At a time when youth unemployment is almost 15% nationally, 40% of workers in Australia are in insecure, casual jobs, and the gap between rich and poor is growing, it in no surprise that many people feel anxious or fearful about their future or the future of their children.
It is the role of unions to unite people, to drive progressive change in the face of these economic and social realities. We cannot let fear or hatred take seed. We owe this to the unionists that came before us and fought for equality and compassion in the face of fascism, and we owe it to the generations to come.
The NUW condemns hate speech and the violence it can lead to. The union reminds Australia's political leaders that public actions directed at individuals or groups because of their background, religion or ethnicity that are likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate are illegal, and are an affront to our fundamental human rights.
Like the article? Subscribe to Green Left now! You can also like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.