Saturday’s socialist speak out
The National Union of Workers’ picket at the Coles distribution centre continues, with the workers there demanding parity in wages and conditions with workers at other distribution centres. Coles has outsourced labour relations to Toll Holdings.
Coles made $1.16 billion profit last financial year and Toll has predicted net revenue of over $400 million this year. The Coles’ CEO is on a salary package of over $15 million, the highest in Australia.
Both very rich companies refuse to accede to the workers’ reasonable demands.
Having been unsuccessful before Fair Work Australia in seeking an order that the picket is ‘illegal’, Toll Holdings has sought a hearing in the Supreme Court on the issue. That hearing is at 2.30 pm today (Saturday). This makes the need for community support and involvement even greater.
As Jerome Small says in his excellent and up to date report in Socialist Alternative “Supporters to rally for Coles workers as strike continues”
This [court hearing on the picket] throws down a challenge to every unionist. We have to mobilise support to show Toll and Coles that the warehouse will not be working again until the workers’ demands are met.
Here is a communiqué from the Victorian Trades Hall Council about the situation and how you can help.
These workers will continue to face economic hardship. Every day they continue a strike that we all benefit from is another day they don’t receive pay from their employer.
By making a donation to the account below you will ensure those that are brave enough to fight against militant employers are still able to feed their families and live with dignity.
Account Name: NUW Vic Coles Somerton Relief Fund
BSB Number: 063 074
Account Number: 10014540
Branch: Commonwealth Bank
If you can get to the picket line it is at the Coles Distribution Centre, Union Road and Somerton Road, Somerton. You will be most welcome.
And remember, don’t shop at Coles.
This Sunday there is a community rally.
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!
Community Rally: Show your solidarity with the striking Toll workers!
Sunday from noon at Union Road and Somerton Rd, Somerton, Melbourne, Victoria.
For more on this read I urge you to read Jerome Small’s recent report in Socialist Alternative “Supporters to rally for Coles workers as strike continues”
Meanwhile the ALP continues to try to distinguish itself from the Greens. This is a smokescreen. The real issue is why doesn’t the ALP distinguish itself from the Liberals?
Some pro-working class policies might help it do that instead of ruling for the one percent. It can’t do that because the Labor Party, like the Liberal Party, the open party of the bosses, is caught in the anti-worker embrace of neoliberalism.
An expression of support for the Coles’ workers from just one senior Labor Party politician (you know, all those ALP politicians who profess to having working people at the heart of their actions) would be a fillip to the strike. So too would encouragement from the Greens be a great boost and a way for the Greens to show they are on the side of workers. As far as I can tell The Greens have said or done nothing around this issue either.
We shouldn’t rely on the politicians of the one percent to support a challenge to the dictatorship of capital. Coles workers and their supporters will have to fight to win parity of pay and conditions irrespective of what the Labor Party and the Greens do. But the silence and lack of support from the ALP and the Greens for the Coles strike is instructive.
The crisis of capitalism is now engulfing Spain. 8000 Asturian miners have been on strike since the end of May against government attacks on their jobs. They show the way forward for other workers, not just in Spain but across the globe.
The way to resist the austerity of the one percent is to strike. Doing that opens the way to a better future.
The US economy continues its jobless recovery. Profits are up but jobs are down. In other American news the US ruling class has no idea how to respond and is battling between a nice mass murderer and austerian and a private equity fund manager and future mass murder and austerian.
The Australian economy may be slowing, with official unemployment edging up despite a drop in the participation rate. Unemployment is now officially at 5.2% although more realistic analysis by Ray Morgan for example puts it at over 9%. If you include underemployment then the figure for labour under-utilisation approaches 20%.
And all the while global warming continues apace (witness for example the warning of scientists about the Great Barrier Reef) and the irrelevant discourse on the carbon tax continues. Why irrelevant? Because it is a mickey mouse response to a real threat to humanity.
And today is the anniversary of the Great French revolution, a revolution that swept away feudal absolutism and laid the ground work for the spread of capitlaism across Europe and the globe, the first precondition for socialism.
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