- The Guardian
- Issue #2049
The international working class continues to commemorate the struggles and gains achieved over 134 years since the first May Day commemoration in 1889 which remembered the martyrs of the Haymarket violent confrontation that took place on 4th May 1886 in Chicago, Illinois. On May Day we pay tribute to all those workers who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the struggle for workers’ rights.
The Communist Party of Australia stands in solidarity with all workers in Australia and internationally. It joins millions of workers who demand changes to improve the lives of working people and their families.
Capitalism is failing the people. Decades of neoliberalism have taken their toll with an ongoing redistribution of wealth in favour of big business and the wealthy.
- Redistribution of wealth: budget cuts and tax cuts for the rich and businesses are hurting working people and social security recipients.
- Cost of living: People struggle with mortgages and rents as interest rates and prices of essentials continue to rise.
- Workers’ incomes: Incomes do not stretch enough to last until the next pay.
- Climate crisis: Drought, bushfires, floods, mass fish kills, and extreme weather events are all taking their toll on people and ecosystems in Australia and around the world.
- Wars and war preparations: With all their brutality, destruction, and environmental pollution humanity and the environment are being pushed to the brink.
Australian workers are under constant attack from bosses always looking to boost profits by increasing the exploitation of workers. Wage theft, unpaid labour, cutting corners on safety – they do whatever it takes. Workers demand change!
While corporations post record profits, workers’ living standards are going backwards. Real wages are falling. Wage rises of 3.3 per cent are less than half that of 7.8 per cent inflation.
FAIR WORK (SECURE JOBS, BETTER PAY) BILL 2022
The Albanese Labor Government introduced into law the Fair Work Legislation Amendment (Secure Jobs, Better Pay) Bill 2022. Positive changes to IR laws are rare from governments. This new legislation is only partly an exception to that rule with a range of sweeteners and regressive elements that will ultimately undermine any union that uses industrial action as a bargaining tool and strategy.
There has been much said of the positive changes but not much said or certainly limited, muted criticism of the dire situation in which the new laws place workers and unions who engage in struggle to protect and extend their rights, wages, and conditions.
The IR changes got rid of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) but their functions and funding were allocated to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and Ombudsman. It is time to take the next step of legalising trade union rights such as the right to take industrial action; the unrestricted right of entry of trade union representatives; and the right to organise. Collective bargaining by trade unions across workplaces should be a right in all industries.
One of the main issues facing workers in struggle are the “intractable” bargaining provisions. As a tool to ward off aggressive employers and allow workers who are not in a position or are not being led into struggle to get an arbitrated outcome in the FWC it may sound reasonable. But for those prepared to fight, it could not work as a nine-month limitation on bargaining that takes struggle out of the hands of workers onto the State, leaving the FWC to decide. Considering the basic political control of the State rests with the employing class – the capitalist class – this is a bad law that will favour bosses and outlaw class struggle by workers and their trade unions.
There must be a campaign to remove the intractable bargaining provisions. The Communist Party advocates for Industry bargaining. The CPA will support and be active in that campaign as a Party that has policies that are in the interests of working people.
COST OF LIVING
The mythical threat being thrown at workers is that a rise in their wages will cause inflation by fuelling price hikes. This refers to the age-old capitalist claim that wage rises cause price rises or inflation.
But is this true? Wage rises are NOT driving inflation. Real wages fell by 4.5 per cent last year.
Let us look at the current round of inflation:
- Inflation involves a massive transfer of wealth from workers, pensioners, and others on fixed incomes to monopoly corporations. It reduces the purchasing power of wages – wage reductions by stealth.
- Profit-gouging is driving it up.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia has raised interest rates ten consecutive times since May 2022. No consideration is being given to the obscene profits reported by corporations which clearly are the main source of inflation. Banks also report increases to profit margins, forecasting $33 billion in profits this year.
The taxes on our declining wages are not being used in workers’ interests. Public health and education are in crisis, the lack of housing is having a critical impact with workers unable to house themselves and their families, and many more at risk of being pushed towards mortgage crisis risking even more people moving into homelessness.
Public housing stock has been run down by Labor and the Coalition – sold off to their developer mates. Planned public housing programs alongside the necessary infrastructure are the only way forward. The private sector has failed on housing, just as it has in health, aged care, the NDIS and wherever else it sinks its profit-gouging claws.
Workers demand a stop to the war on workers!
Workers demand an immediate rise in real wages!
Workers have the right to withdraw their labour!
The government continues to syphon off more and more taxpayer money to support US military interests. This makes peace workers’ and unions’ business.
Workers must reject the Australia, UK and US AUKUS deal. Workers must stand against the arms race that robs the working class of a crucial $368 billion plus that could be used to bring real security to families. These funds could be redirected to addressing the climate crisis, for disaster relief and rehabilitation, and planning/adaption to prevent future disasters and to provide education, health, housing, and fund the NDIS and aged care.
Australia is not threatened by any country despite the warmongering propaganda. The path to peace is disarmament. If you prepare for war, you get war.
The massive increase in military expenditure on war preparations is contributing to inflation. The military-industrial complex makes super profits while syphoning off and pushing up the price of materials used in the production of other goods and services.
The Communist Party of Australia stands with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in their demand for a Voice to Parliament.
In the upcoming Referendum the CPA calls on all workers to vote YES to establish a Voice to Parliament as a step forward in the struggle for Treaty and Truth Telling and the key demand for Land Rights.
Socialism is the only alternative to rapacious capitalism, so join the Communist Party of Australia in the struggle for a better future for all.
Real wage rises now! Fight back now!
Remove the intractable bargaining provisions!
Join your union! Join your Party.