Killing is not murder when done for profit.
The Commonwealth government expects 4,000 deaths this year from asbestos-related conditions, a figure to continue for some years. www.asbestossafety.gov.au
Silicosis is likely to match that total each year and to extend well beyond the era of when most of the sufferers from asbestos will have died. Continue reading
Drew Cottle and Angela Keys
Factory occupations are rare in Australian labour history. While ‘work-ins’ and other forms of workers’ control have occurred in coalmines, power stations, on building sites and on the waterfront, they are almost unknown in factories. Their importance has always been a crucial part of the Left’s political programme and strategy to establish socialism. This paper will examine the Harco ‘stay-put’ as an example of workers’ control in one factory. It is a study of democracy from below where rank-and-file workers attempted to run things at a small metal-shop on Sydney’s urban fringe.
Our ‘right’ to strike has never been handed down from on high. Never will it be. Our right to strike is a precious gift which we win and hold for each other by putting it into practice. Continue reading
DEDICATION DOESN’T PAY THE RENT! THE STORY OF THE 1986 VICTORIAN NURSES STRIKE.
by Liz Ross
First published in Hecate as “Sisters are doing it for themselves…and us”, Vol 13, No 1 1987. Reprinted as a pamphlet by Socialist Action September 1987.
Nurses are often seen as the archetypal ‘hand-maidens’ of men. But if there was any one event that threw off this image once and for all, it was the Victorian nurses’ strike of 1986. Not only was the nurses’ dispute important for nurses, it is a valuable lesson for all women workers and those who write about them. All too often, the focus is on women workers’ passivity, their super-exploitation and the problems they face in breaking through their conditioning.
While it is obviously important not to dismiss these difficulties and problems, this approach focusses too much on women’s weaknesses. What it fails to take account of it is that, when they become involved in struggle, women can quickly break out of this passivity. Continue reading
By Susan Pryke, Janet Van Straaten & Alan V Walker
Two chapters from the book Captains Flat – Boom to Bust – And back Again From 1883
Published by the Captains Flat Task Force 1983
Chapter 8: Miners at Work
Chapter 9: Strikes and Lock-outs
Captain’s Flat – Boom to bust
FIGHTING LABOR’S CUTS:
The NSW Social Security strike, May–June 1988
Eris Harrison and Dave Main, 1989
Since the mid-1970s, Australian workers have been on the defensive. There have been minor actions (for instance over wages in 1981), but they have been heavily outweighed by spectacular defeats, like the dismembering of the BLF and by the passivity and lack of confidence of workers in the face of major cuts to wages and conditions orchestrated by the Hawke government.
A selection of articles from the publication Socialist Action on the 1986 Robe River dispute and its aftermath Continue reading
One of Graeme Haynes’ favourite songs, one that sums up his feelings about the 1986 Robe River dispute, is Utah Phillips’ “All Used Up”. Continue reading
Published by Public Servants Action Group
The dispute in the Department of Social Security which exploded in the last two months of 1981 was an important turning point for ACOA. Hundreds of members were stood down for up to 6 weeks, large chunks of the Department were paralysed and the industrial action peaked with a 3 day strike of the entire union in NSW. Continue reading
Navvies rocked this city
Canberra Historical Journal, New Series, 67, December 2011, pp. 17-24.
For the Federal Area to become a Federal Capital on the ground as well as in law, hundreds of navvies had to construct before tradesmen and other labourers could build. Continue reading
Humphrey McQueen (2012)
Media coverage of the ALP’s deal with Rinehart to import 1,715 skilled and semi-skilled construction workers for Roy Hill has been as intense as it has been shallow. These notes place the 457 visas and Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMAs) in larger contexts – industrial, economic, political and social-cultural. Continue reading
Seeing Red, 2003 (slightly updated)
The current campaigns to defend and extend Medicare offer the opportunity to diagnose the commodification of life, both by merchandisers and by corporatised medicine. Whether health care is treated as a human right or as a commodity will always be the outcome of social action. Human rights are brought into existence through imagination and struggle. Continue reading
Art, Transfield and Refugees
A Russian doll of inhumanities
Humphrey McQueen – 18 March 2014
Sometimes you may need to bribe, to be tough, even to be inhuman, to reach your target. Every contract is a battle. What counts in the final victory. Continue reading
Extract from Framework of Flesh, Builders Labourers Battle for Health and Safety, Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, 2009, pp. 134-40
Between 1945 and 1955, Australian production of fibro sheeting from asbestos cement trebled from 8 to 23 million square metres. By 1961, one house in six was fibro. The self-builder favoured this material because it was cheap, easy to apply and available. The advertising said nothing about harms. Continue reading
The death of cricketer Phillip Hughes on 27 November was one of several hundred workplace fatalities during 2014. Continue reading