Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Practial Anarchy - Work Choices

Language is a potent weapon for legitimizing any political system, and in the west a level of communication has been reached which avoids confrontational discourse and resorts to words devoid of substantive meaning.

In Melbourne on September 26, 2007, the trade unionists marched against John Howard's "Work Choices" legislation. It reminds me of the term "Newspeak" from George Orwell's 1984, or as i like to call it, the euphemism treadmill. I find liberal "double-talk" to be a fascinating thing, in its ability to subvert the thinking of the cattle class. Call the new legislation "Work Choices" and it sounds like it has a positive spin, when in reality has very little in the way of choice. Tell that to a 15 year old apprentice who's signed a work contract for less than $20 an hour "all in" (less I'm told). Of course, the workchoices advertising will tell you that a 15 year old can only sign an agreement if they have a parent/guardian present. What if the adult has no capacity to bargain? Should we rely on the goodwill of an employer to abide by their fiduciary duty? The capitalist system is designed for the interests of the self-centred, and at these rallies, it's pretty obvious that the message is "Howard out, NOW!" and that all unionist problems have come about because of Liberal party politics. Let me assure all of you, a Labour Government will make no difference. We do not have a democracy here in this country, we have Corporate Governance. You should have noticed ads on TV saying "lets keep workchoices", these advertisements ARE NOT by the Liberal Government, but rather from business lobby groups. These lobby groups are powerful vested interest groups, whose sole mission is in maintaining the status quo. So much so, that the Government has changed legislation to include protests, where the only legal protest is over pay disputes, and therefore for a wage increase. Subsequently, the protest today over Workchoices legislation is considered illeagal. According to The Age 30,000 protestors were expected, however, the threat of individual fines of $6,600 would be issued against employees and $33,000 for unions if they went.

Thirty construction union members from Austral Bricks site in Craigiburn voted reluctantly yesterday to work as usual after they were told the company planned to call the Australian Building and Construction Commission to seek fines against individual workers.

Make no mistake, even if Kevin Rudd does get into power (and put all bets aside, Howard will get back in), these business lobby groups would never allow the removal of concessions granted to them, like the ability to sack workers for no legitimate reason (so long as you have no more than 100 employees). No, I'm afraid our hope for change through reform by Kevin Rudd will only lead us down the path of disappointment, after all, he admits to being an economic conservative, has already stated that "some" of the workchoices will stay, and then of course there is his wife's conflict of interest with her multimillion dollar business, supplying casual workers to the Government. Hmmm. I'm afraid that unions are misguided if they believe that Labor will have any real or lasting impact on their job security. Taking my job as the harbinger seriously, it's important to inform you that the opportunity for reform has passed, and I would like to leave you with one last thought.

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