Australia: Yarra Council defends workers’ collective agreements

Socialist Party Councillor leads opposition to government’s industrial relations

Yarra Council (Melbourne), which is dubbed Victoria’s most left wing council, voted unanimously on 11 October, to only give council contracts to companies with collective agreements. The motion was moved and driven by Socialist Party (CWI) Councillor, Stephen Jolly, but also supported by the 3 Greens, 3 Labour councillors (ALP) and 2 independents.

The motion expressed strong opposition to the ‘Australian Workplace Agreements’, introduced by the right wing John Howard government. The motion also agreed that lawyers will draft legally-binding wording to keep all Council contractors on collective agreements.

This motion is direct slap in the face to the Howard government’s attempts to undermine collective bargaining agreements. Yarra Councillors called for other councils to follow suit in the next months.

"Yarra Council is now a bridgehead in the fight to make all Councils AWA-free", said Cllr Jolly.

The meeting was attended by dozens of workers and trade unionists who burst into spontaneous applause upon the vote.

This is an important step in the developing opposition to Howard’s anti-working class legislation and will help boost the build-up to a national day of strike action, in November, and organised by the unions.

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October 2005