For the third time this year, thousands of Sydney workers from various unions defied threats of fines to down tools and walked off the job on 16 November to demand an end to the federal government’s war on workers.
“The screws are tightening on every worker in Australia, while company profit and inequality are at an all time high”, said a member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Association.
Highest among the concerns of those who attended the protest, spearheaded by the CFMEU and MUA, was the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission. One construction worker said, “The government wants to fine the unions out of existence, and the ABCC is helping them to achieve that goal”.
Construction workers know that they face fines of up to $36,000 for taking part in an on-site meeting an ABCC inspector deems illegal. Since the jurisdiction of newly re-formed ABCC has been expanded to cover the delivery and supply of construction materials, workers on the docks have also found themselves in the commission’s crosshairs.
Representatives of many unions addressed the rally. The message was clear – down with corporate greed and union busting. If there was ever a time to rally, strike and fight back, that time is now.