Workers' rights are fundamental to democracy

Our wages, living conditions and democratic rights have been fought for and won over two centuries by working people, and their basic defence organisations, the trade unions. Now these union rights and conditions are under attack by big business and the governments of the two major parties, Liberal and Labor.

John Howard introduced the draconian “Work Choices” laws, and the ALP under both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard failed to repeal important parts of those anti-union laws, with its “Fair Work Australia” legislation.

Union right of entry is often still outlawed, and award stripping, job cuts, casualisation, insecure work, privatisation and outsourcing are still rife. Attacks on the right to strike, picket and organise union and community solidarity are rampant.

The Socialist Alliance calls for:

  • Repeal of all anti-union laws; defend and extend the right to organise industrially.
  • An end to the crippling legal restrictions on the right to strike and picket.
  • Stronger health and safety legislation to ensure a truly secure workplace.
  • Genuine equal pay for women, and all workers; end all discrimination in the workplace.
  • Abolition of the 457 visa class in favour of full, permanent residency and industrial rights for all migrant workers.
  • Abolition of Sections 45D and E of the Trade Practices Act, which restrict the union movement's right to carry out solidarity actions with other unions, locally and internationally.

Workers' and union rights are fundamental to democracy. The Socialist Alliance stands in full solidarity with unions and their members, and condemns the ALP for its betrayal of workers' interests. The ALP has also promoted bureaucracy and corruption in the unions. We need strong and militant trade unions under the democratic control of their rank and file.