Approximately 200 delegates from several unions met in NSW Trades Hall on July 28 and voted unanimously to call for a statewide day of action on November 16 in response to attacks on penalty rates, the ABCC (Australian Building and Construction Commission), and the war on workers and their unions. The meeting also voted to hold another combined unions delegates meeting in mid-September, to plan an ongoing campaign.
The motion was moved by Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) delegate Denis McNamara and seconded by Unions NSW Secretary Mark Morey. Mr Morey emphasised the importance of the meeting and that it was important that the views of the rank-and-file and the community are listened to.
There were delegates and activists from the CFMEU, Electrical Trades Union (ETU), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Fire Brigade Employees Union, Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, Finance Sector Union (FSU), Health Services Union (HSU), National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), Australian Services Union (ASU), Professionals Australia (representing pharmacists) and Australian Salaried Medical Officers’ Federation (representing doctors) and NSWTF.
ACTU national secretary Sally McManus addressed the meeting, as did union officials and numerous rank-and-file activists. Ms McManus spoke about rising inequality in Australia, its causes and the ACTU’s planned campaign around it. In response to the cuts to penalty rates, Ms McManus said: “Our rights at work are broken if the Fair Work Commission can make that decision. What we have learnt from decades of neoliberalism is that it’s up to us to put limits on their greed and to make sure workers have rights. We need to be ready to mobilise nationally and we will.”
These actions unite our struggles. The Your Rights At Work campaign has taught us we must build and maintain a social movement, independent of the ALP, that holds them to account beyond an election.
Taverners Hill Infants