UK trade unionists rally to support Australian workers

Submitted by Anon on 19 November, 2006 - 1:21

From Amicus:

Hundreds of UK trade unionists are to protest outside the Australian Embassy this week (Thursday 30th November) at anti-worker and anti-trade union labour laws introduced by the Australian government.

Nearly a year after the introduction of some of the most draconian employment legislation ever seen in the industrialised world, UK trade union members are to protest outside the Australian Embassy on the Aldwych. Amicus’ General Secretary is also writing to Australian Prime Minister, John Howard and Amicus’ activists will write to their Australian counterparts to pledge their solidarity and support.

Since the re-election of the Howard government in 2005, successive basic protections have been attacked, including the minimum wage, the right to four weeks annual leave, parental leave rights, unfair dismissal protection and the standard working week.

It has also allowed employers to put workers onto individual contracts which has slashed workers pay and reduce employment conditions to the barest minimum standards. Those workers who refuse to sign fear being sacked with little or no redress left to claim unfair dismissal. This is a direct attack on trade unions and their ability to represent workers and to protect the poorest paid.

Amicus trade union say that the Australian experience should serve as a warning to anyone considering voting Conservative in the UK elections.

Amicus’ General Secretary, Derek Simpson, said: “The extraordinary attack that the Australian government has made on workers has had a devastating impact on peoples pay, working conditions, their job security and their family life.

“We’re protesting to demonstrate our solidarity with Australian workers and trade unions but also to say that anyone in the UK that is under the illusion that a Tory government would not do the same here, need to think again.

“David Cameron has already said he intends to do away with the European Social Chapter that provides UK workers with so many of their basic human and employment rights including the right to consultation with their employers, the right to protection in cases of dismissal and the right to strike. These are the very rights that the Australian legislation removes or restricts.”

Amicus has also pointed to the fact that two key advisers to the Australian government, Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor, were recruited by the Conservative Party to advise them in the 2005 UK General Election campaign.

Photo and interview opportunity

Amicus members will be protesting outside Australia House, Strand, London WC2B 4LA from 9.30am on Thursday 30th November. Members will be carrying placards and boomerangs with slogans demanding workers rights back.

For information visit the Amicus website

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