Enough is Enough!

RTBU National Secretary and ACTU Vice President Bob Nanva spoke at the end of the ACTU Congress 2018, urging unionists to support the ACTU agenda for industrial relations reform.  You can rad the transcript and watch the video here.



What a Congress we've had.

I want to start by congratulating Sally McManus, Michelle O'Neil and the ACTU team for such a great event.

I know for sure the forces of privilege would have been watching every second, and despairing about the unity, conviction and determination on display on display right here in this room.

Our enemies have always come after us.

But over the past few years the attacks have become more persistent and more ferocious.

That tells us something - that they genuinely see their vice like grip on economic and social power slipping. And they're lashing out

Debasing, devaluing and diminishing the rights of our members without fear or favour, knowing only too well that the right of workers are neither strong, nor easily enforceable.

There they are, this unholy alliance of lawyers, tory politicians, and corporate executives applying their craft silently...draining workers and unions of time, money and strength, through a never ending process of stubborn obfuscation.

Because they can.

Laying siege to workers and unions through the courts and digging in for the long haul. Digging in for months. Digging in for years.

Because they can.

Not giving a damn about workers, but on ideologically disempowering them and grinding them into the dust, by abusing every rort, technicality and trick.

Because they can.

The rules have been dodgy enough for some time, but in the absence of an independent umpire with the power to arbitrate, they're now being weaponised to attack workers.

Weapons like rejecting wage increases without rhyme or reason and pulling the shutters down on bargaining - knowing there's no risk of an arbitrated outcome to focus the mind or to cleanse the soul.

Enabled by a system that's failing working people.

Weapons like setting up a $2 shelf company, getting five mates to vote up a sham agreement, and then sacking an entire workforce so they can re-employ those same people on dramatically lower wages and conditions.

Enabled by a system that's failing working people.

Weapons like systemic wage theft that goes unpunished

Like suffocating unions under the weight of complex legal paperwork, directions hearings, pleadings, affidavits and submissions.

Like business models that are built on exploitation.

Like terminating Enterprise Agreements on a whim.

Agreements containing conditions that have been negotiated fair and square over decades.

All enabled by a system that's failing working people.

Comrades, these weapons are starting to hit their mark.

We now have the lowest rate of wages growth for decades.

Full-time jobs are being converted to part-time jobs.

Part-time jobs are being made casual.

And casual jobs are being replaced by so-called "gigs".

Everywhere you turn, people are being pushed down the employment ladder, towards lower paid, more precarious forms of work,while corporate profits reach new highs, pay rises stall and inequality rises.

Well at this Congress, through these IR policies, we say enough is enough.

It's never been more important to unify behind these policies, to be disciplined about prosecuting them, and not rest until politicians have implemented them.

Because they don't just change the rules, they put the fundamental union values of fairness and justice back in the industrial relations system.

And that, comrades, is the very reason we exist.

Watch the video of Bob's speech here.