Around 200 unionists have signed an open letter urging Unions NSW to convene a one-day stopwork rally against the Abbott budget. The signatories including delegates from the CFMEU, NTEU, CPSU, the Teachers Federation and a number of PSA central councillors.
Meetings of National Union of Workers members at Newspoll and Millward Brown call centres in Sydney also passed the motion.
One NUW member at Newspoll told Solidarity, “Our meeting was 30-40 strong, with standing room only. It came after we had workplace contingents at both March in March and March in May, and began building the bust the budget rally two weeks in advance.
“There was no problem finding a seconder and the motion was passed unanimously.
“Abbott’s proposed deregulation of university fees and cuts to higher education will directly impact the bulk of casual call centre workers who often work casual hours to make ends meet while studying.
“Liberal government plans to force unemployed young people off Newstart and Youth Allowance for six months at a time will deepen the precariousness of casual work—dismantling any social safety net to protect workers when work comes to an abrupt end.”
Pressure has been building from a number of sources. The CFMEU construction division’s monthly delegates meeting also passed a motion calling for Unions NSW to initiate an industrial campaign to fight the budget.
Paul McAleer told a budget fightback meeting in Sydney that the strength of the response to the budget through actions like March in March has already encouraged a greater union response, for instance, “The march in August is now being discussed at Unions NSW as part of the strategy to fight the budget.
“The more politically left unions are discussing these issues at Unions NSW and want a more significant industrial, political and social campaign against this budget”, he added.
With the unions set to call delegates meetings in September and a day of action on a weekday, Thursday 23 October, the more pressure there is to turn this into a serious stopwork rally the better.