Feb 6, 2018

Rundle: effective strike action is dying in this country, and it’s partly Labor’s fault

The only possible strategic response to this assault on workers' rights is wildcat strikes.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


RTBU NSW Secretary Alex Claassens (left) and Secretary of Unions NSW Mark Morey

Days after the Nice Work Commission -- sorry, Fair Work Commission; Nice Work Commission is what lawyers call it -- ruled against the NSW rail unions, declaring their proposed January 26 weekend strike illegal, and we all appear to have moved on.

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11 thoughts on “Rundle: effective strike action is dying in this country, and it’s partly Labor’s fault

  1. lykurgus

    The “ON MANY SIDES – ON MANY SIDES” argument?? Dude… too soon…

  2. pinkocommierat

    I wish I knew how to shake people from their apathy about this.

  3. zut alors

    ‘Wildcat’ strikes may prove to be the only course. The name is appropriately raffish.

  4. zut alors

    It would be of interest to hear what the Fair Work Commission thinks about WA construction company, Cooper & Oxley, shutting down a site & refusing to allow tradies back in to collect their tools. Their tools of trade ie: their livelihood.

  5. AR

    Isn’t there some folk memory of the Tolpuddle Martyrs having been transported to Botany Bay?
    Or the later bush born Irish lads hunted down by bog land agents, exiled by Fenians?
    Could someone remind me of the last occasion when the People were given something, except in order to stop them taking everything?

  6. Nudiefish

    Glad that my old dad didn’t live to see the Australian ‘right to strike’ being decided by wealthy judges, lawyers and the fat-arsed plutocratic classes in courtrooms.

    You wanna know why the French have such excellent working conditions? Because they will strike with three minutes notice if anybody tries to remove them.

    1. Eureka Stockade

      yeah and unions had the balls to call a strike with no fear or locked in endless court battles, when the laws changed in 1996 I saw unions lost any power so I resigned unions today are waste of union dues cant actually do anything

  7. Charles Richardson

    “would threaten to endanger the welfare of part of the population” – how could any sane person have though that wording “was tight enough to limit their scope”? Surely any strike action is going to threaten to endanger someone’s welfare?

    1. Guy Rundle

      yes, fair point. More precisely one could say that the framers were working on an assumption drawn from old IR – that ‘endangering welfare’ would be taken to mean something like ambulances not arriving. Not a blackletter interpretation that 5% of Sydney kids would get panic attacks cos their train was late. Which tp be fair, the Commission rejected.

  8. Dog's Breakfast

    What is often missing from the collective consciousness, and almost all media treatment of this, is that the bad old days of the electrical workers, the CFMEU and the railway workers went on these strikes and got big pay rises, which then invariably flowed on in part at least to the public sector, which then applied pressure to increase wages in the private sector.

    I was quite looking forward to a train strike. I have fond memories of hitching in to work and being picked up by randoms, having great conversations, The domain being opened up as a car park, people talking to each other and somehow, you won’t believe it, the world didn’t cave in.

    Sure, it was over the top, but much less extreme than what we have today.

  9. Bob the builder

    Labor’s been hobbling the unions for decades and the unions have been hobbling workers for just as long.
    My union (CPSU) won’t even answer emails asking to re-join because I’ve asked to speak to a local rep before I hand over the money. They’re happy with enough members to survive and the fat off the Super funds and all the other boards they get to sit on.
    Political consciousness, in the meantime, has been so expunged, that few would even know how to conceptualise using the power of their labour, let alone participating in wildcat strikes.
    It’ll be a long road back.

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