Pickets AND politics, comrades
Community pickets help win reinstatement for sacked Finlay Engineering workers
A successful community picket organised by Union Solidarity and unions helped win back the jobs of three workers sacked at the Melbourne engineering firm. One was allegedly sacked for smirking at his boss.
Community pickets - as part of a general political campaign to not only overturn these laws but the constitutional basis for them - are an important tactic in our struggle against WorkChoices.
Non-union community pickets can help circumvent odious anti-trade union laws and can help politicise broader layers of people.
We publish below the Melbourne-based Socialist Party's report of the victory next to the press release of the ACTU. Note the ACTU release says that negotiation won the workers reinstatement, not class struggle. While the Socialist Party grouplet over-eggs its own importance in claiming this as the first setback for Howard, it is no doubt correct to point to class struggle as the mechanism to win. What is missing, however, is a political strategy to combat Howard. Strikes and pickets alone are not enough. Most of the far left has elevated the tactic of industrial action into a political strategy. This is a leftist, syndicalist error.
ACTU and AMWU MEDIA RELEASE Issued 12 noon Wednesday, 3 May 2006
FINLAY ENGINEERING WORKERS BACK ON THE JOB
The ACTU and the AMWU today welcomed the return to work of three workers who were sacked recently at Melbourne engineering firm, Finlay Engineering.
ACTU President, Sharan Burrow and AMWU Victorian State Secretary, Dave Oliver said that the workers would return to work tomorrow, and were looking forward to getting on with their jobs.
Ms. Burrow and Mr. Oliver said:
"Following negotiations with the management of Finlay Engineering and the AMWU, the three workers have been reinstated and will be returning to work.
"The workers are thrilled to be back on the job, and are looking forward to returning tomorrow.
"The AMWU and the ACTU are pleased with the result of the negotiations and are committed to continue to work cooperatively with the company.
Dave Oliver thanked members of the AMWU and members of the community who supported the workers in getting back to work.
.... and from the Socialist Party
Total victory against Howard's IR laws at Melb Picket!
For immediate release
Wednesday 3rd May 2006
The Finlay company has caved into the picket outside their Waterdale Rd, West Heidleburg plant in Melbourne and reinstated sacked workers Harra, Vince and Arjunta.
These workers were sacked two weeks ago after an incident of alleged 'smirking' by a worker at his boss. The boss explictly stated he felt more comfortable sacking these workers after the introduction of Work Choice.
Yesterday at 6am a snap and real picket line (in that it stopped trucks entering the site) was called by Union Solidarity with the help of many others including the Socialist Party. Over 300 people blocked the two entrances and drove the boss to defeat late last night.
This is a message to the ACTU and all workers - we don't have to wait until the next Federal election or for an expensive win in the High Court - we can win on the ground with unity and resolve.
This is the first serious setback for Howard's new IR laws.