Archive for 'CFMEU'
There was another death recently that we didn’t hear much from the media about. On Tuesday a 24-year-old electrician at Dallas in Melbourne’s north was electrocuted on a building site. Not much mass media reporting, no mass outpouring of grief, no questioning why, and certainly no campaign in the media calling for tougher criminal sanctions against employers for deaths on site or for better policing of safety on building sites.
Sensibly, and viewed rationally, the best people to police safety on building sites would be the workers and their unions, that runs counter to the narrative of the capitalist class in its attempts to smash the building unions, especially the CFMEU, precisely because they defend their members against the bosses and their rapacious and dangerous drive for profit.
Building unions challenge putting profit before people. That is why the government and bosses want to smash them. The media as part of the cabal of capital won’t publish stories or analysis which challenges this fundamental attack on unions because these unions put people before profits and fight for safety on sites.
To save lives on building sites would mean empowering workers and their unions. Defending building unions is literally a life or death matter.
But that is the whole point of the Royal Commission – to paint unions as bad in and of themselves and further restrict their capacity to win wage increases, defend jobs and protect life and limb at work. If the government can get away with using TURC as the springboard to further emasculate the union movement then Workchoices will seem a picnic compared to what the ruling class will have in store for workers. Kiss goodbye to penalty rates, and welcome longer unpaid hours, more deaths and serious injuries at work, more job insecurity, individual contracts and massive cuts to the social wage.
How then can we improve safety on building sites? Give the CFMEU and other building unions the power to police safety standards. Police could also prosecute company directors for deaths and serious injuries at work instead of conducting political with hunts against unions. Deaths and serious injuries would fall. This of course won’t happen because we live in a society which puts profit before people, which prioritises loot over lives.
John Setka is elected by the Victorian members of the CFMEU. Not Dyson Heydon, not Tony Abbott and certainly not Malcolm Turnbull. It’s a disgrace that industrial issues are being made criminal. Have a listen to his address to the huge 5000 strong rally of workers on Tuesday.
Here is a link to a great article by Jeff Sparrow in Overland on the blackmail charges against John Setka, the secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union in Victoria, and Shaun Reardon, his deputy. Jeff’s article exposes the witch hunt against the CFMEU and the real issue here, which is safety at work. To read the whole of Jeff’s excellent article in Overland click here, ‘Black bans and blackmail’.
The CFMEU is a major target of the Royal Commission witch hunt into unions precisely because it is one of the few unions left in Australia today that actually stands up for and fights for its members. The MBA’s safety smear campaign and the clearly anti-union and political nature of the charges against Lomax show that the building industry bosses and their state apparatchiks will stop at nothing in their quest to put profit before people.
Posted by John, September 2nd, 2015 - under 7-Eleven, Abbott government, ABCC, Building industry, Building unions, Building workers, CFMEU, Fair Work Australia, Royal Commission into unions, SDA.
It is all about priorities, and making sure that bosses don’t rip off their workers isn’t a priority for the Abbott government in Australia. Destroying the CMFEU, one of the few unions that fights to defend its members, is. If the government can do that it makes the climate even better to drive down wages and cut conditions in other industries across Australia. 7-Eleven is a microcosm of Australia’s industrial relations. What Abbott and his hired anti-CFMEU puppets in the Fair Work industry want is a cowered and compliant building workforce a la 7-Eleven. They want workers to work longer for less, just like the 7-Eleven bosses have been doing, with the same result – more profit for the bosses.
If the ACTU, or at least the left unions, were to announce a complete boycott of the Royal Commission, and to back that up not only with the threat of (illegal) mass strike action in defence of anyone prosecuted for not appearing, but also with an education campaign among their members as to why they must walk off the job in response to the biased Commission, it would destroy the witch hunt. The CFMEU is due to appear before the witch hunt today at 10 am. Boycott it.