First sign of resistance against the Howard
government's anti-union attacks
Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance (Australia) trade union coordinator
With the various ACTU officials arguing consistently over the last four months
that the union movement can't resist the Howard government attacks, and that the
union movement will just have to adjust to working within the new legal
framework set for them by the Howard government, it is good to see a sign of
resistance at last.
Victorian Trades Hall Council is the first labour council to call a mass
delegates meeting. The meeting has been called for 23 March in Dallas Brooks
Hall, a venue which holds between 2000-4000 people and has been filled for mass
delegates' meetings before.
A proposal will go to the delegates' meeting for a mass union protest. The
intention is a protest which is tens of thousands strong. The date isn't decided
for the mass protest but the dates being looked at are some time in April, or
else 30 June.
There is also a commitment from the more active unions and some in Vic Trades
Hall that May Day needs to be a day of protest this year. There are discussions
amongst the most active unions about whether it would be best organised by a
Trades Hall committee which is open to anyone to participate, or whether it
should be organised by a committee outside Trades Hall.
In addition, the Geelong, Ballarat & Gippsland TLCs are planning their own
delegates' meetings, but on different dates to the March 23 Melbourne meeting.
They will probably send their delegates to the Melbourne meeting as well - the
advantage of Victoria being such a small state.
It will be important to get the word around to active unionists in other states
about what Victoria is doing. It would be much more effective if the protests
being planned in Victoria become national protests, and if other states plan for
mass cross-union delegates' meetings.
The fact that the VTHC has called a delegates' meeting doesn't mean that all
unions will be committed to it and encourage their delegates to attend. Active &
progressive unionists have a big role to play in encouraging our fellow
delegates to attend, and in putting pressure on our union leaderships to take
the delegates' meeting seriously and put serious effort into encouraging
delegates to attend.
Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~