It’s time for unions to move against Alan Jones
Alan Jones’ comments about Julia Gillard’s Dad dying of shame have produced an outpouring of outrage and disgust. Social media and main stream media have been swamped with condemnation.
Most people have seen this as a continuation of Jones’s hatred of women and the sexism and misogyny deep in our society. Jones still has a job because of that sexist current in society.
But the backlash has turned into a tsunami of complaints and even suggestions of action. These include a demonstration at 2GB in Sydney and calls to boycott Jones’ s advertisers.
Woolworths is under pressure because one of their employees, Simon Berger, attended the function and brought along the chaff bag jacket that was auctioned off. Berger is their Government and Community relations person. One wonders how he can relate to Government and the Community in these circumstances? Woolworths must sack Berger now. They have been defensive so far trying to distance themselves from the comments but Berger remains in his Government and Community relations post. That’s a recipe for success, a community relations manager who has alienated most of the community. Keep it up Woolies.
The oppression of women is vital to capitalism, and sexism and misogyny are but one expression of that. They are part of the ideology that flows from lower pay for equal work, the cheap child care, the extra house work, the rape, the violence, the degradation, the second class citizenry.
How can we address this as a society? One important way is to reward women economically – equal pay for equal work.
This economic recognition can then flow into other areas to reinforce the point that women are equal, not some group of sex objects. It is not a cure all but a part of changing the perception of women as lesser citizens.
And how can that goal be won? Capital won’t yield equal pay for equal work without a fight. Indeed whether it be the vote to weekends and penalty rates to the 38 hour week, to sick leave and holiday pay, capital never yields anything that will cost it without a fight.
The only way to win equal pay for equal work now, immediately, and to give women economic respect is for unions across the country, whether they are in female dominated or male dominated industries, to strike.
Across the country conservative governments are attacking the female dominated industries of health and education and wanting to sack tens of thousands of nurses and teachers. The way to win respect for these professions and the woman who work in them, and women more generally, is for unions to shut down the States until their conservative governments withdraw the mass sackings.
Empowering women includes empowering them economically both in terms of pay and job security.
It also means Government providing free child care to enable women to work. Tax the rich to pay for that.
After Jones’s comments and the rape and murder of Jill Meagher, society is searching for answers to the oppression of women and the violence against them whether it be physical or oral.
The trade unions can make their contribution to that societal questioning by fighting here and now for equal pay, for the defence of jobs and for free child care.
Even if that is not on the agenda, we can take a stand against Alan Jones. Jones works for radio Station 2GB. Unions NSW could immediately ban all work and supplies to 2GB until Jones is sacked. It could ban all goods and services to all of Jones’s advertisers until they abandon 2GB.
Individual unions could do the same. Workers at 2GB could walk off the job until Jones is sacked. Such actions would of course be illegal under Labor’s industrial laws. But it would be the right thing to do.
Outrage and disgust about the mistreatment of woman needs an outlet that will and can change society. The danger is that our anger ends up in reactionary hands with debates about the death penalty and longer sentences and more CCTV cameras. In doing that we only reinforce the current situation and the oppression of women that is systemic to capitalism.
Male and female workers as workers have the power to change the world. Let’s use it to make Australia a better place for women here and now.