Should you back the ACTU leadership’s support for Rudd’s Fair Work Act or oppose it?
The Congress papers say that “the Fair Work Act sees the end of the direct legislative assault on organised labour” and “represents a substantial, albeit imperfect, transition of the 2006 ACTU Congress policy into legislation.”
That’s just spin! Read the Congress’s own Industrial Relations Legislation Factsheet and the truth comes out (see the basic facts about the Fair Work Act over the page, mainly taken from this Factsheet). Workers are still losing. The draft Congress Industrial Relation Policy says that the new legislation gives the union movement a chance to “grow unions, protect jobs and advance workers’ interests”.
If the economy were booming we could almost believe this, even though it would still be a recipe for a stagnant union movement. But we’re entering the biggest recession in 70 years, with thousands of jobs already lost and one-and-a-half hands tied behind our backs by Rudd’s law.
If more workers have joined unions since 2006, it’s because the Your Rights at Work campaign was seen as defending their interests. To keep growing we must keep campaigning for our rights, which remain crippled by the Fair Work Act.
It’s high time to drop business-as-usual-don’t-embarrass–Kevin-and-Julia-too-much unionism. This compromised approach gave the vast majority of workers lower wage increases during the resources boom than would otherwise have been the case, and meant that profits and CEO packages skyrocketed (check the Congress Wages and Collective Bargaining Factsheet for detail).
1. For a full-scale, cross-union industrial and community campaign against the Australian Building and Construction Commission, one that will continue until it or any replacement scheme is abolished, and building workers have the same rights as all other workers:
2. For a campaign of industrial disobedience to the most crippling provisions of the Fair Work Act, including its ban on pattern-bargaining, restrictions on the right to take industrial action, restrictions on the rights of unions to organise and enter work sites and restrictions on the contents of industrial agreements
Let’s build a campaign now against all that is still anti-worker in the Fair Work Act—beginning with the anti-democratic Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Socialist Alliance National Trade Union Committee
Check out the following powers of the Fair Work Act, detailed in the Congress’s own Industrial Relations Legislation Factsheet.
1. The Fair Work Act cuts back unions’ right to organise