Monday 16 November 2009

Lockout wave continues un-remarked

by Pat O’Dea 

The wave of lockouts continues to go un-remarked by both the government and the opposition, with the media carrying only the barest mention. Over the past few months there has hardly been a week, when one, two, or even three lockouts have been going on around the country. This week has been no different. 

The lockout of miners at Rotowaro is now entering its third week, as state-owned coal miner Solid Energy try to force contracting out and casualisation into the mining industry. Today employers at aluminium can maker Amcor, have joined the lockout wave, in an effort to bludgeon these workers into giving up smoko breaks. 

Imagine the outcry if instead of a wave of lockouts by employers to cut wages and enforce layoffs and casualisation, there was a wave of strikes by workers for better wages and conditions, and permanent jobs. 

The loud denunciations by MPs from the pulpit of parliament, would be carried in banner headlines right across the mainstream media. Experts and commentators would be filling the radio airwaves and making guest appearances on TV Editorialists would be spilling copious amounts of ink in the press, bemoaning “greedy workers”, “wreaker unionists” and my all time favourite “lazy featherbedders”, accusing these “overpaid and under-worked”, “industrial militants” of “holding the country to ransom”. 

Truly we live in a class society.

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