We Are Stronger Together

Scott Morrison and the LNP won the unwinnable election. So what?

Our union and others like it have survived every corrupt government. We have outlived one prime minister after another. And despite the relentless attacks on us, our members still enjoy rights that were unimaginable a hundred years ago — things like the 36 hour week, greater workplace safety and superannuation. 

These are rights the Morrison government wants to take away. And they are going to throw everything at us to try to do that. Just look at how quick they were to resurrect the union-busting Ensuring Integrity Bill. 

In all the Liberal’s Royal Commissions against us, the only accusation that has stuck is that we are a tough union that gets results for its members. Not one cent of our members’ money has ever been misappropriated.  

If there’s one thing we won’t step back from, it’s the fight to make sure our members are treated fairly for the job we do. And more importantly, that they get home safely.

Over the next three years, we are going to face plenty of blues. And really, this is a chance to make history, because the bigger the battle, the better the victory and the more we will have to talk about for years to come. 

Let’s not forget, this government couldn’t pass the Ensuring Integrity Bill last time. They still don’t have a majority in the Senate, and they couldn’t even bring it in during the first sitting of Parliament. So while they wait to bring it in, we are seizing this opportunity right now to tell the country just how unfair and immoral it is.

We can’t think that everything would be sweet if Labor had got in either. After all, one of the first things they did after the election was try to expel me. I’ve been part of our union for over 35 years, and will continue to proudly be a voice for my brothers and sisters as long as I’m the elected Secretary. We are stronger together.

The federal government might be hell bent on destroying unions, but at least in Victoria we have a Labor premier, Daniel Andrews, that is getting some things right. And Victoria needs to stay strong as a union state, because that helps protect workers in the rest of the country. 

We need the Andrews government to do their bit in helping us stop the sham contracting that is rife in the unlicensed trades. Painters, plasterers, bricklayers, carpenters, tilers — they are all getting ripped off. We’ve got members with trade certificates who can’t get work because unskilled labourers are being brought over here and made to work for $10 to $15 an hour. That’s why we are pushing the government to bring in licensing of these trades. We need to protect our tradespeople — and our trades. 

Of course, the MBA are against it. But our commitment is to get our trades licensed, so the next generation of workers will have a future. Without it, excuses will be made to bring in more overseas labourers and tradespeople while our kids are left on the streets without jobs and a future.

We have also just begun negotiating the next EBA (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement). If they think they can take away our RDOs or conditions, they’ve got another thing coming.

John Setka