Up to 5000 unionists marched through Sydney’s CBD on September 6 to demand the right to strike and the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
The rally was organised by the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU), with members of the union’s construction and maritime divisions making up the majority of protesters.
They were joined by contingents from a number of other unions.
CFMMEU delegate Dennis McNamara addressed the crowd, saying: “I’ve seen governments come and go. They deregistered my old union [the Builders Labourers Federation], but we’re still here.
“Under the current Coalition government’s ABCC, there are rules and laws that only apply to building workers, not to other workers. Under these discriminatory laws, the bosses are trying to rob us blind.
“It’s time for them and the Scott Morrison government to go.”
ACTU President Michele O’Neil told the rally: “This is a very important fight for you, your families, your workmates and all workers in Australia. We are fighting because the system is broken.
“The top end of town has too much power. We have had 30 years of economic growth in Australia but our wages have been going backwards while those at the top are getting higher profits.”
Another speaker said, to wide applause, “Let’s not deregister the CFMMEU, let’s deregister the banks! Let’s deregister the Liberal Party!” in response to comments by Morrison earlier that week that he was considering deregistering the CFMMEU.
Other speakers urged workers to support and build the proposed actions to “Change the Rules” on October 23.
Click here for more photos of the protest.