18773Re: Fightback and Socialist Alliance conferences
- Jun 14, 2005--- In GreenLeft_discussion@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Boyle"
> <http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,15582399%The link doesn't work but here is the text ogf that article:
Unions call for law-breaking
BREAKING the law gets results, a trade union leader said at a national
conference of trade unions in Melbourne today.
"If you believe in rank and file trade unionism, you have to break the
law," state secretary of the WA branch of the Maritime Union of
Australia Chris Cain said.
"Because I break the law every day and sooner or later we're going to
have casualties when we do, but if we do it en masse, then we'll win,"
Mr Cain's comments brought passionate applause from the assembled
union representatives who were gathered in Melbourne's Trades Hall to
discuss strategies to oppose the Federal Government's proposed
industrial relations reforms.
"I just believe the type of trade unionism Craig Johnston has brought
to Victoria and around the country needs to be put on more to more
unionists around the country," Mr Cain said after former Australian
Manufacturing Workers' Union Victorian secretary Johnston had spoken.
It was Mr Johnston's first speech since being released from jail in
May after serving a nine-month sentence for leading violent raids on
two Melbourne businesses.
Mr Johnston was met with chants of "Craig Johnston, here to stay!"
from the crowd as he stood to speak.
He said that despite the current laws that are in place, he wanted
unions to highlight where they had "taken on, broken the laws and won
Mr Johnston called for support of the Labor party in the next three
years, saying they were the best chance for getting reform.
"The best we could hope for is a balance of power in the senate with
the ALP," he said. "But we have to make sure if the ALP comes in they
are not just a pale imitation of the Liberals.
"We need them to say industrial relations is a political issue, an
issue that's about fairness to working people and they can repeal all
the current laws and replace them with fair laws and just laws that
look after working people," he said.
Other key speakers at the National Union Fightback conference at
Trades Hall included Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union
Victorian secretary Martin Kingham and Greens senator Kerry Nettle.
Ms Nettle encouraged a milder course of action than the so-called
militant unionism Chris Cain and Craig Johnston advocated.
"We are not the only workers in the world who are being attacked by
these kinds of policies," she said. "Those people who have had the
most effective strategies to combat them have been really broad-based
She said engaging in genuine discussion and "getting everyone together
at the table and ensuring everyone understands the issues" would be
paramount in making an impact.
The purpose of the conference was to discuss strategies to combat
Prime Minister John Howard's industrial relations reforms, expected to
be passed in July when the Government gains control of the Senate.
The reforms include stripping 3.6 million workers of their legal
protection from unfair dismissal and taking the determination of
minimum wages away from the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
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