||Issue No. 303||21 April 2006|
Interview: Head On
Unions: Do You Have a Moment?
Industrial: Vital Signs
Economics: Taxing Times
Environment: It Ain’t Necessarily So
History: Melbourne’s Hours
Immigration: Opening the Floodgates
Review: Pollie Fiction
Poetry: The Cabal
The Locker Room
Lying Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them II
What Tax Cuts?
Belly Says It’s Time
A Word Of Warning Stop
Well That Clears That Up Then
Yes, the more trigger-happy employers and their legal advisers appear to have been scared off for now, but the law is the law and employers have a history of exercising their rights. Just give them time.
There are a number of factors running in the union movement's favour as they begin the 18-month project to hold the Howard Government to account.
First, the least the capricious nature of the laws and the inevitable impact they will have - on young workers, working mums, men in jobs who do not have an MBA to flash around. In short, each of the groups identified as being Howard's political base will cop a hiding.
Secondly, the level of political organisation already on the ground is far beyond the scope of any previous campaign. In NSW there are active campaign committees in five federal marginal seats and 29 regional campaign committees.
Normally the model of political campaigning around federal elections is limited to clocking off a busload of delegates and bussing them into a marginal seat to place ALP propaganda into letter boxes.
This is totally different - campaign committees are following strategic plan to identify workplaces, build activist networks and reach out to community organisations, galvanising and embedding opposition to WorkChoices.
They are not talking about candidates or votes, they are doing something more fundamental - building a movement that draws links between working rights and family and community, transforming IR from a technical process into, not just an economic, but a quality of life issue.
And then there is the logo: the ubiquitous 'Your Rights at Work - worth fighting for' branding, which is not just a key message and a call to action, but a campaign tool.
Across Australia, local workers and campaign committees are coming up with ways to get the campaign logo into the face of their community.
The logo is already being displayed on car stickers, T-shirts, telegraph poles, on billboards and buses, at stalls in local shopping centres, surf carnivals and community fairs.
This weekend the NSW ETU takes it a step further, with the launch of a sponsorship deal of the Nepean and Central Coast Soccer Associations.
This Saturday night at the newly named 'Your Rights at Work' stadium at St Mary's, the Central Coast Lightning and Penrith-Nepean United will lock horns in the State Super League - both teams wearing 'Your Rights at Work' logos on their jerseys.
The sponsorship deals go all the way down the junior grades and also covers women's sides - if you or your family play soccer in the Federal seats of Lindsay and Dobell - the Your Rights At Work brand will be in your face each and every week of the season.
Will it overthrow a government? Not on its own, but it's the sort of presence that can get inside your mind and ensure that when you do exercise your democratic rights you will not be easily swayed by the latest morsel the government throws in your way.
Those in government hoping the union campaign will run out of steam should be rightly concerned. We are kicking on.
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