Labor values: see you on the Coles picket line then Prime Minister?
The ALP has been attacking the Greens and talking about Labor values. Here’s how the Prime Minister described Labor values in a speech last year. She said:
Opportunity for all, not as a theoretical concept but as a call to arms, to be expressed every day in making sure men and women have jobs and that every Australian, child and adult, has access to the transformative power of education, no matter where they come from or what their circumstances in life.
Not leaving any one behind, once again not said as a platitude but as a powerful statement that age, disability, ill health shouldn’t spell the end of decent life.
Recognising our responsibility to the Australians of the future, to Australia’s children.
Just as parents work hard to give their children a better life, we work hard to give Australian’s children a better life.
Our sense of love and responsibility for the nation’s children drives us on to make the social, economic and environmental reforms which will create Australia’s future prosperity and share its benefits.
Proud to call ourselves a Labor Government and proud of our union heritage and union links, always ready to fight against conservative forces, who simply don’t accept our core values and who represent the interests of the privileged and the powerful and friends, they are circling again, as the Liberal Party prepares to launch another attack on the rights of Australians at work.
These are our values, our Labor values, the values I have put at the centre of our government and at the centre of what we strive to achieve for the nation.
So Labor is about opportunity for all, a good education, not leaving anyone behind, loving our kids and making sure they have a future. It is anodyne stuff really. These are values for the valueless, visions from the visionless.
They are platitudes Tony Abbott could sprout; mum and apple pie nonsense, totally devoid of meaning.
Gillard even mentioned unions. This is all part of the spin about Labor being in power for working people. She can counterpose the ALP and its union history and union links to the Coalition’s rule for the rich policies.
There’s only one problem. Labor rules for the rich just as much as the Coalition. Its role in government is to manage capitalism.
It is, just like the Liberals, a party of neoliberalism, a party committed to shifting our wealth to the rich and powerful.
At the Coles distribution centre at Somerton in Victoria, ordinary working Australians, the sort of people Gillard claims she is in power to help, went on strike against their boss, Toll Holdings, for better pay and conditions.
These workers do the same work, organising and distributing the same goods to the same Coles supermarkets, as those employed in other Coles distribution centres, including in Melbourne, but are employed on lower wages and worse conditions. Through taking this strike action, these workers are pursuing a new collective agreement that would provide parity in pay and conditions with their colleagues at other distribution centres.
So whose side are you on Julia Gillard? Are you on the side of the striking workers or the Coles boss and his $15 million annual pay check? Are you on the side of the striking workers or Coles and its $1 billion profit?
Yesterday it looked as if other Coles workers would take solidarity action. Coles went to Fair Work Australia to stop them. It ordered the workers to return to work.
Whose body is Fair Work Australia, Julia Gillard? Labor’s.
Under whose anti-strike laws does it operate, Julia Gillard? Labor’s.
Toll Holdings is talking about the picket being illegal, Julia Gillard. Under whose laws? Labor’s.
It is Labor values which make strikes illegal except in certain very limited circumstances. It is Labor values that force workers to fight for pay equality against companies which make massive profits. It is Labor values which turn picketing into a crime in the eyes of the bosses.
If you were serious about representing ordinary working Australians and not big business, Julia Gillard, you’d join the Coles’ picket line at 6 am on Friday morning and mobilise the ALP and its members in Melbourne to be there to support these ordinary working Australians in their just fight against two greedy and very tough companies.
Even a word in support of the strikers would be a great reinforcement of supposed Labor values.
You could get a lift to the picket from Trades Hall at 6 am with Socialist Alternative. And a right royal ear-bashing.
See you on the picket line, Prime Minister.
The picket is at the Coles Distribution Centre, Union Road and Somerton Road, Somerton.
This Sunday – get everyone down to the Toll workers’ picket line for a community rally! Let’s show the Toll workers that the whole union movement and the rest of the community are behind them 100% in taking on the corporate giants Toll and Coles in their struggle for equal pay and conditions!