Sydney May Day Rally 2009

3 May

Just came back from the Sydney May Day Rally which started at Hyde Park North from 12 noon. The estimated turnout for the march is about 1000 and includes unions such as the New South Wales Fire Brigade Employees Union; political parties such as the Communist Party, Greens and the Progressive Labour Party (not to be confused with Australian Labor Party); and anti-war groups including Australian Tamils against the war in Sri Lanka.

Of the various leaflets that I have been given, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA), The Power to the People, and Migrant and Refugee Workers Forum addressed and proposed what I thought, are some relevant and topical issues of the times.

The CPA for example, is proposing (in the short term) for a pan-left and progressives parties, union and community organisations campaign to ‘defend jobs, fight workplace closures and demand public control of assets where companies sack workers and move jobs offshore’ amongst other measures.

‘Power to the People’, a coalition of unionists, members of ALP, Greens, left groups and individuals opposed to privatisation, is campaigning against the privatisation of prisons by NSW labor Rees after Iemma and Costa failed to sell off the power industry last year. They note that privatisation of prisons overseas has led to ‘reduction of rehabilitation programs, staff numbers and safety levels for staff and inmates and breeds corruption’.

In their campaign website, Stop the cell-off, the MNCs that are likely to provide such prison services, :

… typically enter into agreements with local, state or federal governments that commit prisoners to their facilities and then have to pay a per diem or monthly rate for each prisoner in that facility.

This means the more people in prison and the longer they are there for, the more money these private companies make. The result: over-crowded prisons that are poorly managed for profit.’

Furthermore, these private prisons run higher risks as compared to nationalised prisons when it comes to frequent escapes, increase in assaults,  higher likelihood of prisoner recidivism, more complaints and poor performance.

The organising committee of the Migrant and Refugee Workers Forum released a statement denouncing the unfair treatment of migrant workers in the current global financial crisis. In Australia, temporary migrant workers, especially those on 457, are defenceless ‘against being sacked with no safety net to rely on’. The International Migrants Alliance (IMA), according to the distributed leaflet, has documented deteriorating trends:

… 50,000 workers are expected to lose their jobs in Singapore. Already by December 2008, 6,707 migrant workers are sacked in Korea. In Malaysia, 6,000 migrant workers were terminated in September 2008. Job losses have been reported from the Middle East, North America, Europe and Australia. “No work, no pay” provisions have been enforced, subjecting temporary foreign workers to financial hardship…

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One Response to “Sydney May Day Rally 2009”

  1. sam May 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    There weren’t much people there, the park was filled with gaps.

    One thing i want to point out, was it a good thing, or a bad thing it didn’t get violent? Germany and turkey became violent and made the International news! We barely even made the local newspapers!

    My contribution to the march might have been pointless, Was enough done on May day to spread the word of workers rights?

    Whatever people, next year lets make sure it’s bigger.

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