||Issue No. 168||28 February 2003|
Interview: Agenda 2003
Peace: The Colour Purple
Industrial: Long, Hot Summer
Solidarity: Workers Against War
Security: Howard And The Hoodlums
International: Industrial Warfare
History: Unions and the Vietnam War
Review: Eight Miles to Mowtown
Poetry: Return To Sender
Satire: CIA Recruits New Intake of Future Enemies
The Locker Room
More Talk Needed on War
Letters to the Editor
More Talk Needed on War
Thanks to NSW Labor Council for Organising a meeting of unionists to discuss the anti-war campaign. But where was the serious discussion about what unionists and the power of unions could actually acheive?
I found the feature speaker dry and dispassionate and frankly out of touch with the understanding of a large layer of workers. As one of the inspirational workplace delegates pointed out, people in her workplace went to the February 16 rally because they wanted to do something. Anther delegate showed that workers are not timid when he explained that one member called for the peak union bodies to organise a general strike. Most workers are looking for some leadership, and certainly more than a badge wearing exercise, to express their opposition to this war.
There was no time allowed for open discussion and the formal proceedings failed to indicate that unions in other states have discussed and endorsed strike action against the war. Delegates at the meeting also missed hearing the news that a 300 strong Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union delegates meeting in Sydney, 2 days prior, had voted to stop work if bombing begins. They also didn't get the report that the National Tertiary Eduction Union state division has unequivocally opposed war on Iraq and encouraged campus-based branches to stopwork if bombing starts. Macquarie University and University of Technology branches have already passed such motions. It wasn't even mentioned that the ACTU's Sharon Burrow threatened industrial action against the war in a recent speech.
Where were the fantastic exchanges about international union activity? The US unions who have established Labor Against the War, the British rail workers who have refused to carry military equipment? The French and Italian unions that are supporting industrial action? If we are serious about stopping the brutal and inhumane attack on Iraq we need to encourage the most powerful sector of society, organised workers, to take action that is felt in the hip pocket of the corporate and political elite.
Melanie Sjoberg, NSWPSA Delegate and Women's Councillor
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