Slaughter by barbarians in Australia

Ken Howard kenhow at
Thu May 23 16:23:02 MDT 1996

Industrial legislation currently before the Australian Parliament
is set to hurl workers in Australia back to the 1890's. The
legislation :
Introduces Australian Workplace Agreements. These are individual
contracts between an employer and each of 'their' workers that are
secret and can basically be anything that the boss wants. Workers
are prohibited from taking anything that the boss may consider as
industrial action under threat of civil sueing for breach of contract.
i.e there is no longer any "right" to take any form of industrial action.

The legislation will introduce minimum rates which means that 1.7 million
workers, predominantly nurses, teachers, public sector workers can have pay
cuts of up to 25%.

A youth wage of $3 per hour is to be introduced.

No action will be able to be taken for unfair dismissal.

Enterprise unionism ( as little as 20 members) will be allowed and
encouraged while existing union will have restrictions on right of entry
to workplaces placed upon them.

This legislation comes as part of the governments program that has
already seen the most rascist attacks upon aboriginal people,
threatened 15% slashing of public sector employment, 12% cuts to education
and massive attacks upon unemployed and social welfare recipients.

In the face of this barbarism the organised trade union leadership ACTU
has organised a general strike... ooops sorry, have a petition
asking the barbarians to please not be quite so barbaric.

The preperation for this slaughter has been done by 13 years of Labour
Government and the wretched Accord with the union bureacrats. It has
left the working class demoralised, disorganised and in dissaray.

The left to date has shown itself incapable of overcoming the
secterianism of the past. What is clearly needed now is a united left
that can move into the vacuum that has been created by the absolute
betrayal of the labour bureacracy.

How can such a united left emerge.The question of political and
organisational regroupment is no longer one of desired discussion
but an absolute necessity.A multi tendency revolutionary alternative
is the only possibility, but it requires not only abandoning the
baggage of the past but also recognising that we have all to learn
to organise in different ways to those of the past. In the current
situation there is a real possibility of building such unity around
a common Program Of Oppossition, such as a Charter of Working People
Rights, that adresses five or six issues. E.G. Unemployment,Social
Protection, Collective Rights,Privatisation, Enviroment.

The basis for such a program was mapped out three years ago by a
group of people in Melbourne who developed a Charter. It was not
however supported by most of the organised left. They should now
reconsider it.

Ken Howard.

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