Class Struggle Continues in Covid-19 Environment
Written by: Ned K. on 16 August 2020
The TV News reports even show maps of the suburbs most effected, particularly in greater Melbourne. The worst hit areas are working class suburbs where many have had to make a choice between going to work feeling a bit sickly in order to keep their casual or labor hire job or because they and their family live week to week regarding income reserves.
It is in these suburbs where most Award-reliant workers live. Just when they needed a boost to their income the most, the Fair Work Commission handed down a measly 1.75% pay increase and these increases were delayed increases as far out as February next year for many of the Awards.
Meanwhile companies like Rio Tinto make millions (or is it billions) now from exporting iron ore (a resource belonging to First Peoples and working Australians) overseas, mainly to China.
Blue collar production and service workers have to keep going to work and have the greatest range of contact with different people, while many managers and CEOs and Board members of companies, senior bureaucrats and politicians are able to try and patch up the capitalist system from home!
Most of the latter group are well versed in the English language and have access to the best Information Technology, whereas may of the workers in the hot-spot Covid-19 suburbs have English as their second language and less up to date information about Covid-19 restrictions in a form they can easily understand and explain to their families and communities.
Then there is the hypocrisy of the big end of town regarding ideology. They promote the ideology of individualism over collectivism, especially since US imperialist culture became the dominant imperialist culture in Australia post Second World War.
Now in Covid-19 times they wonder why some individuals don't stick to the Covid-19 restriction rules? This is a case of the capitalist ideology of individualism before the collective interest coming back to bite them, the capitalists.
Organised Working Class Leading The Way
However the advanced sections of the working class are leading the way in showing the way regarding how to practice collectivism. This is demonstrated by the collective efforts of hospital workers, truck drivers, aged care workers, early childhood workers, doctors, food production workers, farm workers and the list goes on. It is their collective efforts that have prevented outbreaks of Covid-19 like we have seen in the USA or Brazil. It is their collective work that still feeds the population during these hard times.
The collective action of workers has also seen some notable victories. Such as paid pandemic leave for aged care workers and a magnificent struggle and win by Woolworths warehouse workers in Wyong north of Gosford in NSW (see photo above).
These workers have been the "poor cousins" of other Woolworths warehouse distribution workers in the eastern states. Only this time round in the enterprise bargaining cycle they decided enough was enough.
They were not only wanting a decent catch-up wage increase but also greater job security through a casual conversion clause and existing regular casuals being made permanent.
They went on strike for a couple of weeks and then Woolworths locked them out. This did not dampen their spirits. In fact, it broadened the dispute with Woolworths distribution workers taking their struggle to the doors of the company offices in Sydney and a solidarity protest around the country telegraphed to the company to occur on Saturday 8 August.
Just before the day of solidarity action on the 8th, Woolworths caved in and made an offer that was acceptable in principle to the Wyong workers. They returned to work having withstood a company lockout.
Not surprisingly there was no report of this victory of collective action by workers in the mass media. Nor did Morrison and Co say what a great example of collectiveness these workers showed and that this was what was needed to beat Covid-19. Strange about all this silence! Not really, though, as it shows whose side who is on
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