On the right to strike in Australia

Neil Mudford writes: Re. “If the rail workers can’t do it, when can we actually strike?“(Monday)

Yes, the Fair Work Act permits you to strike under quite restrictive conditions as this news article demonstrates. For example, you must provide your employer with the details of your proposed action well in advance. This allows your employer plenty of time to take preventative action. For example the employer can train other staff to carry out the work you would have done while you are on strike. Also, the action must not significantly inconvenience members of the public.

Meanwhile, even if you are only banning a few aspects of your work, the employer can nevertheless withhold all of your pay. So, the upshot is, you can take industrial action provided it is ineffective. When you run out of money and/or max out your credit card but still need to feed the family, you may be allowed to return to work provided the employer has not “locked you out”. This way, you can achieve precisely nothing except to impoverish yourself. Additionally, the strike action can only legally be taken in relation to enterprise bargaining. Once the enterprise agreement is signed and registered, your employer can violate the agreement and you may not legally take industrial action to remedy this. So do you still think you have the right to protest and take action to press your case for fair wages and conditions? You don’t.

On US/Russia relations

Jock Webb writes: Re. “Razer: ‘progressive’ journos gunning for Trump are a danger to peace” (Thursday)

The US has invaded Grenada and Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan, It has organised coups in Central and South America. Far from peacemakers. Having said that, Vladimir is a baddie and the idiots in the UK press, in particular, have failed to note hoe Putin has destabilised the EU. He funded the racist Farage as well as le Pen. However, Putin is also a paranoid Russian (the Russians are suspicious of Europe with good reason) who saw NATO on his borders. Due to the vanity, venality and nepotism of Trump, he has now gained massive influence in the middle east. It just isn’t as simple as many people think.

Peter Fray

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