Thousands of IEU members in the Catholic system took part in four hours stop work and gathered at rallies small and large all over NSW and the ACT on 4 and 6 December.
The action was a show of strength and resolve in the face of the employers bid to get a ‘yes’ vote for their enterprise agreement, using back pay as a stick to try and force the vote their way.
IEU Secretary John Quessy, addressing one of the rallies at Leichhardt, said everyone had made a “significant sacrifice” to be there and protest unjust treatment, threats and bullying.
“It’s necessary to preserve everything we’ve won,” John said.
A motion was passed that condemned the employer for distributing an enterprise agreement (EA) not endorsed by the Union.
The motion further rejected the absence of arbitration rights in the EA with the consequence that that it is practically unenforceable; rejected the removal of the ability to enforce Work Practice Agreements, that can now also be amended or cancelled at will by employers; and condemned the hypocrisy of Catholic employers who say they stand for social justice and the rights of workers but deny a pay rise to their own employees who want to retain their rights at work.
Here’s some of what was said at the rallies: