Australian workers at union rally oppose attacks on conditions, criticise Labor Party
6 November 2018
Workers at the October 30 Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) “Change the Rules” rally in Newcastle spoke to Socialist Equality Party (SEP) members about the destruction of working conditions that both Liberal-National and Labor-led governments have enforced.
Ron, a 57-year-old prefab concrete production worker, was employed as a casual for the past five years by a company that makes bridges and rail platforms, without being offered a full-time position. He suffered an injury and has been “thrown on scrapheap.”
“When I was young and first went into an industry, I never thought I would see the levels of casualisation that exist today,” Ron said. “A worker could always get full-time work, but not now. For many workers, casual work with no entitlements, no holiday or sick pay is the only thing on offer.
“They claim that casual workers get loading instead of conditions but it is not easy to put this money aside to cover sick leave and holidays. With the cost of living now and low wages the slightly higher rates of pay are quickly eaten up just feeding a family and paying for other essentials.”
Ron said he attended the rally “because I am concerned about the prevailing situation that only looks after company profits, and something has to be done to change this.”
When an SEP member explained that the ACTU campaign was not about defending workers’ conditions but was aimed at the election of another big business Labor government, Ron commented: “I do not think that electing Labor will make any difference because it has lost all connection with the working man.
“That connection does not exist. Even workers in the mining industry…