Thank you building workers
What a great day it was for workers and socialists. In Melbourne thousands of building workers showed the power of the working class. They repulsed an attack by police to escort scabs on to the Grocon Myer Emporium site in Melbourne.
Batons, horses, charges, capsicum spay couldn’t get the scabs in. The police retreated, beaten.
Of course it is only day one and the police and their masters will regroup and try again.
But today’s action involved, literally, thousands of building workers who walked off sites across the city to turn up and show their solidarity with the CFMEU, their union, in its campaign for union representatives on Grocon sites, mainly to help enforce safety.
But of course ‘the safety of our workers is our main concern’ the bosses will shriek. That must explain why, with the introduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and the effective criminalisation of strikes, deaths on site skyrocketed.
Workers could no longer strike over safety issues so the bosses cut corners. More workers died.
Having Grocon in charge of safety is like putting John Howard in charge of refugees. Only union reps on site can help really enforce safety. Only the ability to walk off the job without loss of pay over safety issues can really force the bosses to take the issue seriously.
But it wasn’t just the magnificent working class response of the workers in Melbourne that warmed the cockles of this old socialist’s heart.
Workers in other cities went out in sympathy. Workers on Grocon sites in Sydney will walk off the job on Wednesday. All ‘illegal’ but when workers show their power and commitment the bosses’ laws melt away.
It has been a long long time since workers as workers have fought the bosses and their police so successfully and drawn in other workers in their own city and elsewhere. A long long time.
What a great day. Let’s draw out the lessons from this.
If you don’t fight you lose. For too long our side hasn’t really fought.
If you do fight you have to fight with all your strength. That is what building workers in Melbourne did on Tuesday, and will have to do over the days to come. With the support of workers in Melbourne and other cities the workers can win union representation on Grocon sites.
If the police try to lay charges, or anyone threatens fines or jail for ‘illegal’ industrial action, building workers can mobilise the strength that was on display today to shut down building sites in Melbourne and elsewhere.
They can defeat Labor’s rotten WorkChoices Lite and its restriction on strikes. To win union representation they may have to do that.
Challenge the neoliberalism of Baillieu and Gillard and the violence of their thugs. Victory to the building workers in Melbourne.
There are lessons for all workers in the battle of the building sites in Melbourne. That is why it is important they win. Victory to the CFMEU and its members in Melbourne.
Picket lines will be staffed this week from 5am to 4pm. All union supporters welcome to come and show solidarity. Touch one, touch all!
Readers might also like to look at Grocon: Labor’s laws and the state’s thugs combine to attack building workers