Australian unionists demand a fight for the right to strike

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This motion was proposed by a diverse group of unionists at the 17 April delegates meeting organised by the Victorian Trades Hall Council. While undemocratic meeting procedure meant it was not voted on, the ideas were raised in discussion and got a great response. It advances perspectives that must be at the heart of the Change the Rules campaign: making the right to strike the central plank, political independence of the union movement and putting decision-making power into the hands of union members.

The industrial relations rules are stacked against workers and unions, in favour of corporations and conservative governments. We need to challenge all anti-union laws that restrict workers’ rights to organise.

This meeting therefore supports making the unrestricted “right to strike” (the right to walk off the job for any reason, and at any time of workers’ choosing), a central demand of the ACTU “Change the Rules” campaign. 

We cannot afford to wait for a change of government and hope the ALP will change the rules — the ALP has made electoral commitments to oppose the ABCC, scrap penalty rate cuts and prevent sham contracting, but has not pledged to fundamentally rewrite the industrial relations rules or restore the right to strike.

We, therefore, (i) call on all the ACTU and all state Trades Hall councils to hold stopwork rallies to coincide with VTHC action on 9 May;

(ii) call on VTHC to call another combined mass delegates meeting in June to assess the impact of the May 9 stopwork rally, and to plan the next steps in an industrial and political campaign against these unfair laws, that aims to win the right to strike;

(iii) call on VTHC, all state-affiliated Labor councils and the ACTU to call national stopwork rallies in July as part of national industrial campaign;

(iv) this meeting pledges moral, financial and industrial support to any worker or group of workers who break anti-union laws to defend union conditions and the right to organise.

Marcus Banks – NTEU member; Jasper Bell – NTEU member; Chris Breen – AEU Sub-branch President, Hume Central Secondary College; Debbie Brennan – NUW member; Andrew Charles – CPSU Section Councillor, Meteorology Section; Sophie Colling – ASU member; Connor Clements – UMSU Education (Public) offier;  Ed Coogan – CPSU Governing Councillor, Tax Section; Christina Coombe – HACSU member; Kate Davison – NTEU member; Jeremy Dixon – NUW member; Vladimir Dumovic – AEU member; Tom Fiebig – NUW member; Katie George – CPSU Workplace Delegate, Fair Work Ombudsman; David Glanz – MEAA member; Claudia Gonzales – ACE Branch President, NTEU; Tim Gooden CFMEU member, Geelong; Rob Heller – Shop Steward, CWU (Postal); Lucy Honan – AEU Representative, St Albans Secondary College; Timothy Hume – CPSU Section Councillor, Bureau of Meteorology; Kristalo Hrysicos – AEU member; Shawfikul Islam – NUW Organiser; Rosie Joy Barron – NTEU member; Riki Lane – NTEU member; Gabrielle Lori – AEU member; Nicole Lowe – AEU ES Rep Hume Central Secondary College; Denis Mann – CPSU Workplace Delegate, Australian Bureau of Statistics; Howard Marosi – MEAA delegate and Federal Councillor; Michael Mawal – AEU member; Hannah McCann – NTEU member; Craig McGregor – State Secretary, Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association; Fran McKechnie – ASU delegate City of Greater Dandenong; Hamish McPherson – Secretary AEU sub-branch, Benella P-12 College; Judy McVey – CPSU member; Callum Moore CPSU member; Beth Muldoon – AEU member; Peter Murray – RTBU member; Shelley Phillips – AEU delegate Northern Support Services; Sophie Rudolph – NTEU Uni Melb Branch Committee; Alan Sanderson – CPSU Workplace Delegate, Australian Tax Office; Vaughan Sanderson – AEU student member; Jonathan Sherlock – AEU Sub-branch President, Mount Alexander College; Don Stokes – AMWU member; Fiona Taylor, AEU member; Amelia Taylor – CPSU workplace delegate, TIS National; Alison Thorne – CPSU workplace delegate, TIS National; Jimmy Yan – NTEU member; Bonnie Zuidland – AEU member.

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