On March 4 tens of thousands of trade unionists took to the streets in major cities to protest against a range of Abbott Government policies. Around 20,000 turned out in Melbourne and over 5000 demonstrated in Sydney.
The rallies were organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and the various Trades and Labour Councils. One of the main issues of concern to workers was the possible removal of penalty rates and the lowering of the minimum wage.
Abbott has set up a Productivity Commission to look at workplace relations but given the weak state of his government he is unlikely to try and push through any legislative changes in this term.
The real threat is posed at a workplace level where employers are trying to undermine wages and conditions in order to boost profits. In response unions should organise industrial action aimed at defending our workplace rights.
While Abbott is no friend of working people a return to Labor at the next election would be totally insufficient. They, like the Liberals, are a party of big business. Workers need a new party that fights for their interests in elections, but also fights in workplaces and communities.
By Aishwarya Ramji