Sunday, August 30, 2015

Re: member

Looking at the breakdown of members of the ACTU, in turn made up of members of different organisations with different responsibilities. Mount a full on attack on unions and you also strike at workers doing their job.

I was thinking about which labours I could subscribe and it all starts with woolclassers. My skill  as rusty as the shearing shed I plied my trade in at the tender age of nine.

Farmers Union newspaper I remember for its politically incorrect jokes in the Cocky Chaff column and its amateurish music reviews

Community and Public Sector Union looked after the area I first entered under my own steam, with a range of roles in the Commonwealth public service.

I've been a worker all my life and it will be strange not to be

Media, entertainment and arts are areas I'm heading and a Writer is what I am. I don't think the few party bands I've fronted have ever needed a union.

 I think I can see which union would have been pressuring me when I was a gas meter reader but I've left all that behind.

I'm a professional by experience more than formal education; the studies I did being tangential at best but that's what the tertiary sector allows for administrative roles anyway


The point isn't worklife memoirs, I just think it is important to note the extent that unions are intrinsic to our society, whether we are active members or have brushed against their campaigns. The most antagonistic I've seen anyone at a rally was Wilson 'Iron Bar' Tuckey who opened his address to an angry gathering by challenging them "You lot have got children haven't you, you've got grandchildren?" to be greeted by a loud chorus of boos.

While I worked for a union for fifteen months, it was a paid position and involved no core business ( was - to nobody's surprise - a records officer). I have been a union member for fewer working months of my life than not. Certainly it was interesting to get an inside view of how a union works just as it was to see how the Commonwealth health service or education department work.

I don't believe we should be wasting taxpaper money in launching rolling royal commissions into their activity. They have done quite a lot of good over the years and genuinely helped the members and industries they represent. Not only are various working conditions like shorter hours and paid leave provisions the result of union action, they are responsible for wider social gains such as the preservation of The Rocks area of Sydney.

It is clear, too, that unions don't just represent the PAYE workers at the coalface; there are club managers and police, financial advisors and bankers represented along with the dock workers and electricians.


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