This has been an important week for workers internationally and locally. In Victoria and Tasmania we celebrate the first eight hour day victory as our Labour Day on Monday March 9th. This was a world first and as legend has it stone masons working on Melbourne University in 1856 downed tools and walked from from work site to the next advocating and gaining support for the idea of eight hours work eight hours recreation and eight hours rest. It was also about sharing out the work not just over working some. Great idea. A reasonable idea. A workers idea. Having won it so long ago Employers, Governments, business have been chipping chipping away until now we have insecure work, casualisation, under employment and a predatory privatised social security system all over again.
But workers are studying the issues within Unions remembering the victories of the past. During the past week was International Women’s Day or as we like to call it International Working Women’s Day because it was in fact working women coming together to fight low wages and nasty conditions that struck the first blow for International woman’s day. But just like the roll back on the eight hour day charter the fight for Safety, Respect and Equality for women at work is still on and we report from last week’s WRAW Women’s Rights at Work Conference.
Annie McLoughlin, Rebecca Maes & Tilde Joy.