Armed Services get negative wage increases and trading-off conditions


The current federal government in Australia is attacking the wages and conditions of Commonwealth public servants. They are using the armed services as the wedge to win public support for these attacks.
A am an ex-serviceman. It was not until I left the navy that I discovered that we had to fight for any of rights, and you had to fight to defend them lest we forget that in the first instance it will be the first thing that the employers and politicians will try and grab back. The armed services are being used as an emotional weapon to press gang the rest of the commonwealth public service work force. That they would stoop so low to use a section of the workforce that is duty bound to relinquish many of our rights at work because laws prevent them from organising democratic unions. It is the true measure of the current federal government. No worker should take a pay cut, and the more so, be forced to trade in long held working conditions; in this case leave entitlements. One could add, that these workers in uniform literally put their lives on the line for the government’s policies. There are many aspects of the economy and society that could be addressed to re-mediate inequalities and injustices. Attacking workers is taking the easy way out. By using the need for wages as a carrot, they combine our economic and social relationships of our slavery to wages, with the stick of the law, to force us to accept unreasonable demands by our employers and their governments. What good is an economy that can only take away from us the means to a reasonable standard of living. What good is an economy that is unable to provide the passion necessary to meet our desire to live in a society that will provide for our children in an harmonious and peaceful world. What good is an economy and a democracy if it is unable to provide the where-with-all to make it an actuality by preventing the conditions that produce ill-health, underfunded schools, a lack of affordable public housing and next to no support for the homeless. I suspect the current political system and their arrangements are unlikely to ever address in a constructive and critical the issues and concerns that determine so much of what we do. My time in the navy left me believing it manifested many socialist principles of social organisation and relationships. It also taught me that there was power in a union.

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