The connection between workers and users of public and community sector services is a natural alliance. The demands of the More, Not Less campaign, adopted at its public meeting in August 1991, reflects the diversity of support and the unity of our struggles.
The limitations of seeking employment equality within the existing structures are clear. Equal opportunity programs only provide the option for some to get nearer to the top of an unequal system. We need to defend and extend such reforms by using them as tools to protect existing rights and gains. But reforms cannot finally redress the inequitable position of women and other oppressed groups in the labour market, let alone society as a whole.
For more than 80 years the working class in this country has been shackled to the capitalists through the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. This has held workers back, kept them impoverished, derailed their attempts to break the chains. The Accord, which is the parent of the new wage system is the latest attempt to clothe the emperor.
We must all encourage and build the leadership of the most oppressed within the struggle. This task is all to clear in the public sector where, in many industries, women are a clear majority yet, almost without exception, we are, as a group, at the bottom of the heap.
The activist Special Interest Group model within the structure of the union has resulted in significant gains for casual workers in the NSW TAFE system. It is a model TAFE workers in other states must consider.