Blogs > This Working Life blog > January 2013 > Economic gospel is creating a social time bomb: Burrow
Austerity economics and renewed attacks on workers' rights are causing social unrest around the world. The Australian-born head of the global labour movement says it is time for unions to rise to the challenge and present an alternative to the failed economic policies that have become gospel.
Posted by ACTUadmin on 17/01/2013 3:56:09 PM
Filed under: collective-bargaining, features, ITUC, Mark-Phillips, Sharan-Burrow, austerity
Regarding the photo: Funny, isn't it, how the police are deployed to protect corporations from protestors. I thought Police were meant to serve and protect its citizens, not large faceless corporations. We see this happening all around the world as well as Australia and it is an utter disgrace.On the matter of 21st century slavery, nothing will change until governments refuse to kowtow to corporations, and get back to the business of administering to the needs of its citizens.
in australia if you want to win the harts and minds of union members and members in wateing you first have to loose the queensland awu ,its only jobs for the boys full time and past , they are a joke of a union and this is all ok as long as its jobs for the so named management of the union and the big wigs who talk the talk but never walk the walk. adrian murray
Congratulations to Sharon on articulating the crisis facing workers and the population generally in the 21st century.What we are seeing is the fulfilment of Aneurin Bevan's reasoning in his book "in Place of Fear" - "Either poverty will use democracy to win the struggle against property, or property, in fear of poverty, will destroy democracy."The economic and social reforms that the unions and Labor (Poverty) wrested from the ruling classes (Property) in the early and mid 20th century using the democratic reforms of parliament (universal franchise) were responsible for the greatly improved health and well being of the majority of the population and did not impact greatly on the wealth and well being of the owners of capital .(Property).However, these reforms were nevertheless opposed vigourously inside and outside parliament and instead of being consolidated into our national ethos and constitution they have been allowed to be the subject of continous attack by the wealthy and privileged. The attack has been both subtle, using the media to lull the population into a complacency that social equality has been achieved, "you have never had it so good" or blatant "Government's cannot run the economy and the country cannot afford government spending on social services and infrastructure that does not directly benefit business"We have allowed our elected governments to be placed at the mercy of unelected elites - instead of governments carrying out the desires and wishes of the majority of their peoples they have become compliant tools of the unelected elite. Even many trade unions have fallen under the spell of the market mantra and have stood by while the democratic governments they fought so hard to put in place have put the needs of the capitalist market place above the needs and aspirations of their members.We need to look no further than what is happening in Queensland when a democratically elected government can turn into a capitalist dictatorship to see the validity of Bevan's words. Lulled by honeyed words and 'non core' promises the wishes of the population and the social fabric is being comptemptously subverted to the wishes of the wealthy developers and exploitors of capital. State resources are not to be used for the seridipity of the majority but for the enhancement of the owners of capital. Laws that protect the rights of workers are rewritten to favour the employers. "Consultation" is only done after the action has been taken and with no committment that the wishes expressed by those belatedly consulted will be carried out.Unions are the only organisations capable of resisting and turning around this attack, not only on workers rights but on democracy itself. Small wonder then that the first piece of legislation passed by the Newman Queenslanf Government places further restrictions on unions! What is to be done? Well the first priority must be to ensure the return of a Labor Government Federally. Forget all the media inspired Gillard/ Rudd nonsense and the Carbon Tax / Mining Tax scaremongering. A Liberal/National government irrespective of if it is led by Abbott, Turnbull, Hockey or Bishop or anyone else will be dedicated to the destruction of the union movement as an effective force for change in the workplace or socially. It will also ramp up the attack on social services already under way in the Liberal controlled States and place the blame on those least able to defend themeselves from their economic policies. If we do not want to see Australia go down the path of the United Kingdom and Europe where the ordinary folk are the scapegoats for the failures of western 'democratic capitalism' then first we must reject those who would have us follow down that path. Then, with the return of a Labor government we must work to embolden our elected representatives to have the courage to stand up to their stated beliefs and defend us against the attacks of the unlected media barons and unelected business tycoons who see this country and the world as being theirs to exploit rather than ours to share.
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