On February the 18th The General Assembly of Occupy Sydney endorsed a call for a Worldwide General Strike on May 1st.
This Strike is being organised in unison with other Occupies around the World, including Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Los Angeles & Occupy Oakland.
This will not just be a Call to No Work on May 1st but also No School, No Housework, No Shopping & No Banking.
Recently on February 28th Eleven Major Trade Unions in India organised a One-Day Strike Involving Millions of Workers in defence of public ownership and for stronger labour rights. GreenLeft Article
Occupy Sydney will be organising for May 1st with Unions and other Groups.
Reasons to strike in Australia
As Recent Job Cuts in the Financial Sector of Australia have shown the 1% continue to enjoy increasing profits and bonuses while sacking and outsourcing Australian Jobs and also not passing on Interest Rate Cuts to Hard Working Australians.
The minimum wage had to be fought for. Now what about a living wage? The National Institute of Labour Studies found that about 30% of Australians earning just above or just below the minimum wage were married and had dependent children. A further 8% earning just above or just below the minimum wage were sole parents. These parents work hard to give their children a good start in life, but when decent living standards, including nutrition and healthcare are beyond the reach of minimum wage recipients, how do these children get a “fair go?”
A UNSW Social Policy Research Centre study found that real income rises between low-paid workers and high paid workers have become increasingly disparate:
From 1975 to 2006, real full time non-managerial earnings increased by:
7% for tenth percentile (top of the bottom 10%) of full-time wage earners; 22% for the 50th percentile (median) full-time wage earner; 38% for the 90th percentile (bottom of the top 10%).
The distribution of wages is becoming more and more unequal. Unless we stand up against this, the income inequality will continue to grow unchecked. If capital provides access (to education & training, healthcare, the legal system, recreational activities etc.) Then how much access can the average, hardworking joe afford compared to the (shrinking) middle class and those who control the flow of capital? Does this not debunk the myth that if you work hard you can make it to the top? Isn’t that like the belief that you might have to take the suffering in this life, but when you’ll die you’ll go to heaven? Making it to the top relies on a mix of cold-hearted ruthlessness, luck & chance, privilege and assets.
A study by Masterman-Smith et al using focus groups of low wage earners sheds more light on the lived experience of low paid workers. This study indicates that families reliant on low pay must budget very carefully to avoid financial hardship, foregoing things most Australians take for granted such as dental care, annual holidays, a car, eating out with friends, and buying a home.
Between 1991 and 2011, house prices increased by 263%, while after‐tax income grew by only 95%.
In 2007–08, there was a shortage of 493,000 private rental dwellings in Australia that were both affordable and available for those in the bottom 40% of the income distribution — with 311,000 being needed in capital cities.
The second most common specific reason for seeking assistance from homelessness services was financial stress in 2010-11.
30% of employees are employed on a part-time basis and a similar figure on a casual basis. If you’re in casual employment, IS YOUR JOB SAFE?
With an increasing casualisation of the workforce, rising cost of living, skyrocketing house & rental prices and wages stagnating in real terms while executives enjoy oversized and growing pay packets, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!
Why work to make the corporations richer? The only power we have is the withdrawal of our labour. Strike for control over our own lives.
The strike is in solidarity with the global May Day General Strike. There is general agreement among the people of this world that the 1% has partied on our tab for long enough. They have caused untold suffering for the Earth and it’s beings. It’s time for us to stop showing our consent by withdrawing our participation from this sick, sad system.
^^^^Jacob and Tim from the Sydney General Strike working group and Hugo from Occupy Sydney Media (@occupysydmedia) have created the first Occupy Sydney podcast! They all have great voices for the radio (nice faces too though) and extensive knowledge of worker’s struggles, past and present.