Still to this day the ACTU is yet to provide a strategy to fight the Howard governments ‘Work Choices’ legislation beyond voting for the ALP at the next Federal election. Most workers are well aware that these laws strip back hard won rights and conditions.
Labor whilst promising to scrap the legislation and abolish Individual Contracts has continually attempted to reassure big business that any changes they do make will not jeopardise the overall gains made by the bosses through ‘Work Choices’. In other words, they will put forward a re-named, repackaged version of the current laws.
The Labor Party today is no friend and champion of the working class. We need only look to any one of the states or territories, all Labor controlled, to find a raft of anti-worker laws introduced of their own accord and even the jailing militant trade unionists. There has also been a blindingly obvious absence of a contingency plan from the ACTU in the quite real possibility that Howard is re-elected.
Whilst the ACTU ad campaigns are one of many tools that can be used in the campaign against ‘Work Choices’, they are just that, one of many, and cannot on their own defeat Work Choices or Howard. These laws are in place and effecting workers right now and sitting back and riding it out until the next election is dangerous and deeply flawed to say the least.
The ACTU will not take a lead and provide some direction in the fight against Work Choices and call a 24 hour General Strike as the next step in the campaign. Therefore the more militant unions should take a lead, and call mass meetings to prepare for such serious action.
They should stop hiding behind the coattails of the ACTU leaders. Without an industrial campaign which hurts bosses’ hip pocket running parallel to the propaganda campaign, the bosses and the Howard government will continue to press on with their full frontal attack on workers wages and conditions.
By Antony Alder