Qld unions call on politicians to back workers’ charter

March 5, 2012
QCU President John Battams speaks to the assembly.

Townsville: Just a few weeks out from the Queensland state election, campaigns of various political parties are in full swing as the candidates attempt to persuade constituents to vote for them.

The Queensland Council of Trade Unions (QCU) has joined the fray as it seeks to hold politicians to account by calling for candidates to commit to observing a charter that supports policies that benefit workers.

The Queensland public were the victims of an undemocratic, cowardly, blindside king hit just weeks after the last election when the Bligh government announced a sale of the state's assets in a desperate attempt to keep the state’s AAA credit rating.

Citizens and unions alike were incensed by the $17 billion fire sale, which had been conceived before the election but never mentioned until Labor had retained power.

The unions lobbied hard to get the government to reassess its position but ultimately failed and the relationship between the unions and the Queensland Labor Party is now strained.

Many Queenslanders will be looking forward to punishing the Bligh government for this devious and deceitful act, which failed to retain the credit rating. In the meantime, the state debt has climbed to $85 billion.

On March 3, at the Stockland construction site in Townsville, politicians from the Greens, Bob Katter’s Australian Party and the Labor Party, along with organisers from trade unions and hundreds of unionists, assembled to discuss and sign the QCU's Charter for Working Queenslanders.

The charter seeks assurances from parties and individual candidates that they are committed to ensuring the safety and job security of workers and keeping public assets in public hands.

The rally took place in the electorate of Mundingburra, which will be contested by Greens candidate Bret Fishley, Labor candidate Mark Harrison, Katter’s Australian Party candidate David Moyle and the former deputy mayor of Townsville, the Liberal National Party’s David Crisafulli.

QCU president John Battams told the gathering that the QCU would not support a party that did not commit to the charter.

“The Greens are on side, Labor is on side, Katter’s Australian Party is on side and the Liberal National Party refuses to meet with us,” he said.

“The trade union movement in Queensland is after honesty in politics.”

[Chris McCoomb is a Socialist Alliance activist in Townsville]

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