Australia: Fair Work Commission bans Monday’s NSW rail strike
25 January 2018
This afternoon, the Fair Work Commission (FWC), Australia’s pro-business federal industrial tribunal, imposed a ban on next Monday’s scheduled strike of 9,000 rail workers across Sydney and the state of New South Wales (NSW). The court also ordered an immediate end to all industrial action by train staff over the next six weeks, including indefinite overtime bans that began this morning.
The judgement upheld applications by the state Liberal-National government and Sydney Trains to terminate the stoppage on the grounds that it was a “threat” to the economy and to the safety of the public.
The deeply anti-democratic ruling is one aspect of a desperate attempt by the ruling elite, and all of its political representatives—the state and federal governments, the media, the Labor Party, the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) and the entire union bureaucracy—to suppress industrial action by rail workers.
They are terrified that the struggle of NSW train staff against the government’s attempts to slash wages, cut conditions, and destroy jobs, could become the focal point of a broader movement of the working class in opposition to the austerity dictates of big business, enforced by Labor, the Liberal-Nationals and the corporatised unions.
The Fair Work ruling makes clear that train staff are in a political struggle against the entire official establishment. To defend their social rights rail workers must reject the Fair Work judgement for what it is: a desperate attempt by the government and the corporate elite to criminalise a legitimate struggle by workers against sweeping cuts to their rights and conditions.
Defying the court order, however, poses the urgent necessity…