Change the Rules for Workers’ Rights – Rally: Wednesday, April 10
With the Federal Election approaching, a third big Change the Rules rally has been called for Wednesday, April 10, in Melbourne.
WHEN: 10.30am, Wednesday, April 10.
WHERE: Victorian Trades Hall; 54 Victoria St, Carlton
Sign up here!
Workers across the globe are starting vent their anger in a serious way at the absurdity of an economic system premised in unregulated market forces.
Across Australia we have seen dozens of huge rallies calling for systemic change. For those of you living in Melbourne it has been hard to miss; we have seen over 100,000 workers take to the streets on two occasions as part of the Change the Rules movement. The momentum is building.
A third Change the Rules rally has been called for Wednesday April 10 in Melbourne. Organisers are expecting the event to be huge and there is little wonder why: the situation in Australia is becoming dire.
Those at the top, business owners particularly, are doing increasingly well, while many workers are going backwards. The money in large part stays with the very rich, while governments are ‘forced’ to slash spending on social services for ordinary Australians and for those most in need.
The wealthiest 10% of Australians now hold just under 50% of our net wealth while the poorest 50% of Australians have seen their total share of net wealth fall to 3.7%. Those in the top 1% are taking home some $11,682 per week while those in the bottom 5% are bringing home around $436 a week. The system is profoundly unfair and must change.
There are a number of factors driving this sort of inequality, but the two key factors of direct relevance are: the ongoing proliferation of neoliberal economic policy (driven by both major parties) and an industrial relations regime that strongly favours the top end of town while making it extremely difficult for workers to improve their working conditions.
The data is clear: the more active unions are, the more equal society becomes. It is well past time for a change in the legislative regime. Anyone who has played an active role in bargaining will understand the incredible difficulties that unions face in the current environment. We must change the rules and change them now.
The upcoming federal election, which is likely to be held in May this year, provides workers with an opportunity to remove the Liberal/National Party, which governs for big-business, from power. This will of course see the Australian Labor Party (ALP) form government. No one at VAHPA is naïve enough to believe that an electoral outcome of this sort will bring about the sort of systemic changes that we need to ensure workers are paid fairly and to reduce the drive towards ever great inequality. The fact is that we will need to push the ALP hard if we are to see the sort of legislative changes that we need.
The Change the Rules campaign must not be reduced to a simple electoral campaign. Change the Rules must be a political campaign with clear industrial goals. As ACTU President Michele O’Neil said at the Change the Rules Corangamite campaign launch in late February:
“This campaign isn’t just about changing the government. It is about changing the rules; and we won’t stop until we get there.”
It is not okay for some Australians to be rolling in wealth while increasing numbers are going homeless and living in poverty.
It is not okay for unions, democratic communities of workers, to continually be attacked and scapegoated by self-interested politicians with more interest in their investments than in the country.
We encourage all VAHPA members to join us at this rally! Only by working together will we able to change the rules and reverse this drive towards ever greater inequality.