Bob Carnegie

Bob Carnegie wins!

Published on: Fri, 03/07/2015 - 15:00

Shane Bentley (MUA member, Sydney)

Workers’ Liberty supporter Bob Carnegie has been elected to the Queensland Branch Secretary position of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) in this year’s Quadrennial elections. Bob assumes office for a four year term on 1 July.

Bob was one of four challengers for the position vacated by retiring incumbent Mick Carr. Bob was defeated at the last MUA Quadrennial elections of 2011 by Carr by only two votes (504 to 506).

This time around, Bob won easily with a margin of fifty votes. The final tally was Bob with 315 votes, former Queensland Deputy Secretary Trevor Munday with 265 votes, seafarer

Surprise win for Queensland Labor

Published on: Sat, 31/01/2015 - 18:26

Bob Carnegie

Bob Carnegie comments after Labor's surprise win in the 31 January 2015 Queensland state election.

On Saturday 31 January the state of Queensland (Australia) underwent another seismic political change. A first-term conservative government which held a record majority 66 seat majority in an 89 seat parliament was defeated by a not very confident Labor Party whose central program was opposing the sale of state-owned assets such as electrical distribution and supply and state-owned ports.

It was truly a momentous defeat for the conservative parties, and has had a direct impact on the damaged

Density and decline

Published on: Tue, 02/12/2014 - 18:05

Bob Carnegie

The crisis in Australian unionism is one of great concern to all working-class activists. In a series of articles I will criticise some of the current trends and try to show that there are ways out.

The main tools I have at my disposal are nearly 40 years of militant trade union and working-class activism and wide (but not deep) reading of socialist theory. I hope these articles are of interest. Whether they are insructive and helpful, that is for others to decide.

If a union movement’s societal influence is primarily based on relative union density, the current state of unionism in

Human needs not human greed

Published on: Wed, 05/11/2014 - 11:15

Bob Carnegie

My first two articles dealing with attempts to organise defence base workers in Australia attempted to highlight the problems with on the ground organising, union arguments over which unions should cover these workers, the workers’ battle for jobs and redundancy payment and most important of all, the horrorible effect of contracting out of services has on the wages and conditions of those workers concerned.

I can report that there has been some movement on a couple of these issues. Defence workers in the Northern Territory formerly employed by Serco/Sodexo (SSDS), through their unions, have

The wrong “organising model”

Published on: Tue, 14/10/2014 - 17:34

Bob Carnegie

In my last article I wrote about the horrors of contracting-out of civilian work on Australian defence bases, and the drive to force down the wages and conditions of the workers.

Similar processes are at work everywhere else, be it the private or the public sector.

Just recently my partner Melissa and I did a factory tour of the XXXX brewery in Brisbane, Australia, where I worked some 35 years ago as a young man. In 1979, XXXX had a permanent crew of painters, carpenters and plumbers, and a full time work force of 850. It is still a huge factory, maybe producing more than in 1979, but now has

Money for war, but not for those who clean up

Published on: Tue, 30/09/2014 - 17:37

Bob Carnegie

In the mid 1990s, Paul Keating's Labor government in Australia decided to outsource work on defence bases to private contractors. This work was overseen by that great excuse for a conservative in hiding, the leader of the Victorian right wing of the Australian Labor Party, Senator Robert Ray.

Formerly jobs which had a high degree of stability became insecure ones. Workers, nearly 4,000 of them, whose jobs were cleaning the toilets, the rooms, and the barracks of defence bases, serving up the meals and pouring the drinks in mess halls, mowing the grass, and doing the gardening, and those

What to do about union corruption?

Published on: Tue, 29/04/2014 - 18:23

Bob Carnegie

The problem of corruption and misuse of union funds has plagued workers’ organisations almost from the heroic beginnings of trade unions.

More than a hundred years ago my hero (we all have a few) Eugene Debs, in a famous speech about the emancipatory nature of organised labour, pleaded that the labour movement had been “betrayed by traitors, bled by leeches and sold out by leaders.” 100 years on it is time we of the left tackle this problem and use a powerful moral argument to start bringing this problem to heel.

We need to put systems in place to stop corruption and end its bedfellow

Lessons of the Queensland Children's Hospital strike

Published on: Wed, 10/10/2012 - 11:07

Construction workers recently won an eight-week strike at the Queensland Children’s Hospital in Brisbane.

There’s a greater spirit of militancy in the industry now than for some years. The current Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) campaign has been met with strong employer resistance [EBAs are the main form of collective agreement in Australian industry].

The renewal of some of the four-year agreements have been met with a much stronger resistance from employers than there ever has been in the history of the EBA system.

At Laing O’Rourke, workers had a 21-day protected action [legal

The Craig Thomson case

Published on: Sun, 18/09/2011 - 09:26

From "Appeal to Reason". For more on Craig Thomson, click here and here.

Power is more important than principle in today's ALP and sections of the unions

Over the last few months, we have watched the disgraceful actions of the MHR for Dobell, Craig Thomson, unfold before us.

Before Thomson was an MHR, he was the national secretary of the Health Services Union. This union represents health care workers in some states, most of them earning on average about $20 per hour. Thomson, as the national secretary, was paid an annual salary of $157,000, around four times what his average member

An Appeal To Reason: the future for Australian maritime workers and the MUA

Published on: Fri, 19/08/2011 - 23:22

By Bob Carnegie

Click here to download this as pdf.
The Maritime Union of Australia is a a union of immense potential power, organising the workforce in the ports through which the economic lifeblood of Australia flows. Merchandise trade runs at 38% of GDP in Australia, as of 2010, up from 25% in 1968, and compared to 19% in the USA and 22% in Japan. Australia is an island continent; with its big cities scattered at large distances from each other round a long coastline, with relatively poor internal freight links, the big-city ports are strategic economic points which cannot be bypassed.


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