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John Passant

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May 2014
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Keep socialist blog En Passant going - donate now
If you want to keep a blog that makes the arguments every day against the ravages of capitalism going and keeps alive the flame of democracy and community, make a donation to help cover my costs. And of course keep reading the blog. To donate click here. Keep socialist blog En Passant going. More... (4)

Sprouting sh*t for almost nothing
You can prove my 2 ex-comrades wrong by donating to my blog En Passant at BSB: 062914 Account: 1067 5257, the Commonwealth Bank in Tuggeranong, ACT. More... (12)

My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)



Stop work to stop the bosses’ Budget and the war on building workers

Photo: Now they're coming after people's homes. The Abbott government's industrial police are now threatening to take away individual workers' assets, including their homes. The internationally recognised right to seek better wages and conditions sure isn't amongst the 'freedom' and 'rights' this government cares about.

From the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union:

Today in the Australian the Coalition have said that they fully support Fair Work’s attacks on individual union members who took unprotected strike action.

Members were fined in amounts ranging from $1000 to $10,000 and some have now been issued with asset seizure orders for their houses and other assets. The laws under which these and other building workers have been charged represent a shift towards intimidating individuals rather than the union for standing up for themselves at work, and are almost unbelievable.

Just three weeks ago journalists at (media company) Fairfax engaged in unprotected industrial action. Is the government going to sue them and seek to sequester their assets as well or are building workers second-class citizens?

This is the wrong question CFMEU. Dobbing in other workers won’t save you.

According to the Guardian: ‘Two asset seizure orders have [already] been issued, stopping employees from selling assets, including their house.’  There will be more, and it will spread to other sectors, like the media, where workers have taken ‘unprotected’ strike action.  ‘When they jail a man for striking, it’s a rich man’s country still’ comes to mind.

This threat to unions and union members is real, and if successful could hamstring the union movement from ever striking to defend jobs or wages or safety.  It has the potential to destroy the lives of many workers and the potential but mostly unused power of workers in unions.

With the working class anger against the bosses’ Budget it is clear that a lead from the CFMEU against the Budget would win massive working support. That lead must include an industrial campaign against these penal powers that could see workers lose their homes for striking.

Australian workers defeated another version of penal powers in 1969 by strking. Rolling general strikes across Australia saw the bosses cave in and Clarrie O’Shea released from jail after five days.

We can force the government and Fair Work on to the back foot today if one of the few unions that really fights for its members were to lead strikes against the bosses’ attempts to destroy workers through its Budget and through Fair Work action against workers who have gone on strike. A call to strike to bust the budget and defend striking unionists could inspire workers across Australia. Light the fire.

Stop work to stop the bosses’ Budget. Stop work to defeat the attacks on building workers.



Pingback from Stop work to stop the bosses’ Budget and the war on building workers | OzHouse
Time May 29, 2014 at 10:11 pm

[…] May 29 2014 by admin […]

Comment from Kay
Time May 31, 2014 at 8:42 am

I like the reference to ‘The Ballad of 1891’ – a terrific song.

However, union membership these days is so low, and union leaders so ‘on the nose’, that I don’t see unions having any real impact on Budget negotiations. Big protest marches with wide community support have a much greater impact.

Comment from paul walter
Time May 31, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Am afraid I was going to say something similar to Kay. The jackals would only be moving in because the once powerful union movement has been so drastically weakened over time.

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2014 at 11:22 am

Thanks Kay. If union leaders actually took action and connected with the anti_Budget anger, they might re-establish their relevance and more importantly that of unions.

Comment from paul walter
Time June 1, 2014 at 12:42 pm

More hope a snowflake in hell.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time June 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Someone who is a government employee told me she cannot join a union because the unionists are the first people to be kicked out when they are downsizing.

When Ford made some of their workers redundant, they fired OH&S staff, union delegates and people suffering from workplace injuries.

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2014 at 6:14 pm

Maybe. But how do we know if we haven’t tried, and in making the arguments we hopefully bring together that minority who do seriously want to fight back.

Comment from John
Time June 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm

They might have difficulty doing that although bosses do try, Lorikeet. And not joining a union makes it more likely everyone will get the boot, or crap wages etc.

Comment from Kay
Time June 2, 2014 at 7:22 am

Throughout my entire public sector career (federal and state), I was a union member, and for much of that time, a workplace union delegate/organiser (organisation-based, union-run elections occurred to choose union delegates).

It was my experience that union membership/office made organisations think twice about treating you in any way unfavourably. So, unless things have dramatically changed, I think it is better to join a union. I also believe in honouring the historic role of unions – without unions, we would all be working under extremely poor conditions. I always found it difficult to recruit young workers because they appeared to have no in-principle commitment to unionism, and resented paying union fees. Unfortunately, when you have corrupt union officials (like Craig Thomson), it makes recruiting new members next to impossible.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time June 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Yes John, a massive uprising should be the order of the day, yesterday if not sooner.

Over a number of decades, solidarity of any kind has been undermined by social engineers preaching Me Syndrome, along with the government providing a glut of workers, a shortage of work and poorer wages and working conditions.

A friend of mine works for Woolworths. She belongs to 2 unions (meat workers and shop assistants). Neither of them could save her from having to relinquish her old employment conditions which prevented her from having to work on Sundays and extra Saturdays.

When I asked her, she fully unionised her workplace. Then the shop assistants’ union went into bat for them, only to find that the government only cared what Woolworths wanted.

When things get bad enough, the workers will fight back, but I believe the government has been developing systems to prevent strikes (e.g. huge fines). I’m sure they will also come up with a large fighting force of police to subjugate the masses.

Comment from Lorikeet
Time June 2, 2014 at 6:59 pm


I was fired by the Department of Social Security in 1987 because I was suffering from a workplace injury. I belonged to the relevant union, but it was clear they had already lost any clout they might have had due to insufficient members.

When the Labor government under Bob Hawke devolved the powers of the Public Service Board to individual departments, it became “open slather” to fire injured workers (primarily female) or offer them a measly redundancy package. Before that the PSB had a policy of indefinite redeployment to lighter duties or moving people onto a Superannuation pension.

The public service used to have compulsory unionism. Once that was abolished, workers’ rights began flying out of the window. Non-union members were also paid wage increases won by unions, further undermining any interest in joining a union and paying union dues.

I still think all workers should join a union. This would require solidarity within each workplace i.e. the sort of togetherness that has been actively discouraged for decades.

A friend’s nephew is a Union Delegate of the ETU. There is no convincing him that if Labor resumes power in Queensland, they will continue with asset sales.

I have recently asked Together Union a number of times not to give any money to known abusers i.e. the ALP and Coalition.

Yes, things HAVE drastically changed…and now they need to drastically change back again!