Draft article for Workers' Liberty (Australia) no.38, by Bob Carnegie and Martin Thomas
Reports are still coming in, but today (30 June) there has been a massive show of union strength against the Howard Government's attacks.
By Janet Burstall
John Howard has been the Liberal Prime Minister of Australia since 1996. Last November he won not only his third term as Prime Minister, but also, for the first time, a majority in both houses of the Parliament. From that position of strength his government is preparing to introduce a string of anti-union legislation.
The United Campaign for the Repeal of the Anti-Union laws held a lobby of the House of Commons on 28 February. Representatives from TGWU, RMT and CWU called on Labour to include improvements in trade union rights in the Labour manifesto. They also pledged to keep fighting on the issue of repeal of the anti-union laws after the election.
The High Court has banned industrial action by guards on Midland Mainline, in a case which shows the blatant class bias of Britain's anti-union laws.
Midland Mainline operates multiple-unit trains, which have no connecting door. This effectively divides the train into two halves. Guards and their union, RMT, believe that there should therefore be a guard in each part of the train.
By Janine Booth, Finsbury Park branch RMT chairperson (personal capacity)
The High Court has banned industrial action by train guards on Midland Mainline, in a case which shows the blatant class bias of Britain’s anti-union laws.
EWS is on a crusade to introduce a new driver restructuring initiative. Most traincrew will be familiar with these - drivers' pay goes up, but with it comes extra duties, more anti-social hours, worse conditions, and wholesale attacks on other grades.
A planned strike at London Metropolitan University was stopped late in September after a High Court injunction was placed on the lecturers’ union NATFHE.
The union is fighting the imposition of new contracts. Later this month members will discuss whether to hold a new ballot on industrial action.
How the British state legislated against free trade unions in the last two decades
For the last 23 years, successive governments have consistently introduced legislation to curtail the action of free trade unionism in the UK. Theirs was a long-term strategy in response to the growth in militant trade unionism from the 1970s. The laws introduced in the 1980s curtailed existing immunities and made solidarity action illegal.
By Sue Denham
The Branch Delegate Conference of the T&G was on the surface a boring affair. No dramatic conference arguments; composites were passed in almost every case with GEC endorsement. Excellent positions on asylum seekers and the organisation of migrant workers, no hint of a right-wing agenda.
Affiliation to the United Campaign for the Repeal of the Anti-Trade Union Laws (UCRATUL) went through with GEC recommendation and was passed as part of a comprehensive composite on anti-trades union legislation.