Solidarity spoke to Dean Mighell, secretary of the Southern States branch of the Electrical Trades Union
“THE LABOR Party’s promises have proven to be hot air.
Labor was elected because of the Your Rights at Work Campaign. In my opinion, the campaign was actually about our rights not about getting rid of John Howard, however welcome that was.
Some 95 per cent of WorkChoices is intact. There’s been a little bit of finetuning to individual contracts, which appeases a lot of the national white-collar unions.
But we still have a purely anti-union organisation in place—the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Right of entry doesn’t seem to get a mention.
We’ve got to stop blaming Howard for creating these measures and start asking Labor why they’re keeping them.
Here in Victoria there’s no doubt that we will be seeing a mass delegates’ meeting to plan a response. The national building union have got together over the case of Noel Washington, asking ourselves, when are we as construction unions going to start the campaign, given the ACTU is doing nothing on this.
I’m enormously encouraged by the unity that’s been shown and the goodwill that exists among the unions in the campaign.
As I wrote in The Australian, the union movement has a responsibility to fight bad laws regardless of who governs.
Incidentally, that’s why it’s been easy for the ETU to back Les Twentyman as an independent in the Kororoit state by-election in Victoria.
When you’ve got a progressive, hard-working local bloke like Les, who’s done the hard yards in the western suburbs of Melbourne, against a rightwing, right-to-life import in the ALP candidate, it’s not hard to know who to support.”