The right to employment is a basic human right. However, capitalism to survive keeps wages in competition creating and promoting unemployment. Capitalists are only interested in profit; they do not care about people’s needs and their rights. In their struggle to maintain the Capitalist system they divide the working class by destroying full time jobs.
Two million Australian workers are employed in precarious conditions today. Casual employment and sham contracting arrangements are often the only choice for thousands of workers particularly in the construction and manufacturing industries. Thousands of teachers, nurses and other workers in the services and hospitality industries spend their working lives as casual or permanent casual employees.
The Attacks on workers’ rights and conditions
As a consequence of the adoption of class collaborationist policies particularly throughout the 1980s the working class movement has been weakened. The theory that lower wages would create higher profits and in turn lead to greater production and more jobs became widespread but has proven to be false. Promoters of these policies suggested workers would be more than compensated with improved services – the “social wage”. Class collaborationist policies have led to lowered standards of living for many workers, longer working hours, the elimination of penalty rates or their reduction, neglect of health and safety regulations, speed-up, widespread casualisation and part-time work, and many other changes that are unfavourable for workers.
Workers’ entitlements have often been stolen following bankruptcies, takeovers and closures.
The collective principles of the trade union movement are being undermined by the introduction of individual work contracts as well as a ruling class ideological push towards individualistic approaches to work and life in general.
A series of reactionary anti-trade union pieces of legislation by both Labor and Coalition governments has made the situation for trade unions extremely precarious. The systematic destruction of the award based system is part of this process. Most awards have been stripped, severely limiting the ability of awards to protect workers rights and conditions. The vigorous promotion of individual and non-union work contracts aims to re-establish a master-servant relationship in the workplace such as existed in the 19th Century.
Vigorous attempts are being made to exclude trade unions from workplaces. Severe penalties for individuals and unions taking part in industrial action have been imposed. Militant unionism is to be replaced by the creation of “yellow” unions or better still, in the eyes of employers, no unions at all.
The struggle for a shorter working week continues and becomes more necessary as thousands of workers work excessive number of hours with no pay and on the other hand thousands work only a few hours unable to find any alternative.
The basis of socialism is the public ownership of the means of production, the planning of economic development and the elimination of the exploitation of labour for private profit. Socialism ends the domination of the capitalist class as the ruling class.
The Communist Party of Australia calls for:
- The right to strike to be incorporated in law
- A 35 hour week without loss of pay
- Trade union-negotiated collective industry agreements in every workplace
- Gender pay equality
- Indigenous workers’ rights
- Full employment and the right to secure work with full entitlements
- A national, public superannuation fund with guaranteed entitlements and investments in public social and economic infrastructure
- Abolition of university and TAFE fees, creation of more apprenticeships and skills training
- Independent Trade unions
- Rights for workplace union representatives
- Union representatives on company boards elected by the workers
- Union run labour hiring halls and an end to labour hire companies
- Allow and protect rights to collective bargaining
- Unrestricted right of entry to workplaces for union officials.