The MUA Sydney Branch today held a rally with over 1,000 workers to demand the right to strike as part of the wider Change The Rules campaign.
The rally assembled at Town Hall and marched to the Fair Work Commission to protest unfair industrial laws in Australia.
Paul McAleer, Sydney Branch Secretary said industrial laws are stacked against workers and unions, in favour of corporations and bosses. Unions that exercise their right to strike face massive fines and law suits.
“Wage growth is at historic lows. Employers are tearing up legally binding Enterprise Agreements and locking out workers who try to negotiate better wages and conditions. Construction workers face special laws that try to prevent them from organising,” McAleer said.
“Currently, even if you meet stringent conditions and ballot for industrial action in the small window offered by Enterprise Bargaining, the Fair Work Commission can still rule against your strike like they did to the Sydney train workers, if it is deemed to endanger the welfare of individuals or the population, cause economic damage to the country, or even economic damage to a company or employees.
“These clauses can make almost any strike illegal — the whole point of a strike is to use economic leverage to disrupt the normal functioning of businesses and services."
The Sydney Branch initiated this rally in the face of multiple attacks from bosses using the Fair Work Commission.
At Hutchison Ports, bosses have tried to force workers straight back into unsafe conditions following a serious industrial incident that has left a straddle-carrier driver in a coma.
Union officials were then denied entry to the workplace.
Elsewhere, workers have been stood down for exercising their rights under WHS laws.
The branch and officials are facing lawsuits and it’s time to stand up and fight back.