Defend the Red Unions!


15-08-2022:  The Covid “pandemic” resulted in arguably the largest assault on the working class in history. Beginning around 2021, vaccine mandates – take a series of injections with a substance of then unknown consequences or lose your job – confronted all Unions. It is now a matter of record that the Covid mRNA vaccines, which many workers were effectively forced to take, led to millions of permanent injuries and deaths. One calculation has it that people are 25x more likely to be injured, and 20x more likely to die after taking Covid injections, than those who are “unvaccinated”.[1] The response of the old or “legacy” Unions almost without exception, was NOT to stand up for the right of workers to not be injured or killed by coercive injections – but to join with employers and governments enforcing them!! Millions of workers were aghast, coming after decades of inaction from the legacy Unions on other issues, and many of them seriously questioned the actual purpose of Unions.

Red Unions explode in growth

Thankfully in Australia, the Red Union[2] – a grouping of 13 employee associations, some of which had been operating several years before Covid – did take a stand and defended those of its members who did not wish to take experimental drugs and remain in their position of employment. In Queensland, potentially thousands of teachers and nurses may have been terminated through a Covid vaccine mandate were it not for the intervention of the Teachers Professional Association of Queensland (TPAQ) and the Nurses Professional Association of Queensland (NPAQ). Not surprisingly, one result was strong growth in membership of all entities of the Red Union, with many workers resigning from the old Unions. The Red Union offers its services at around two thirds of the cost of membership of the old Unions (around $400 per year as opposed to $600 per year) mainly due to the fact that it is not affiliated to the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and does not forward members’ money to Labor Party campaigns. Inevitably, there was going to be a reaction from the ALP and from the ALP aligned Union officialdom. The form it took involved staggering levels of hypocrisy and corruption.

The Labor Party Queensland government – which to this day has not withdrawn vaccine mandates for hundreds of thousands of public servants – responded to the growth of the Red Union by attempting to legislatively prevent it from competing with the old ALP affiliated Unions. In June, the ALP submitted the innocuously named Industrial Relations and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. Amongst other provisions, the Bill will prevent “non-registered” Unions from representing its members in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC). “Registered” Unions being, of course, ALP aligned or ALP friendly Unions. Incredibly, the Bill also includes a new offence of “misrepresentation”, where “ineligible” Unions (such as the Red Union) cannot “lawfully” represent a person under the IR Act.[3] Potentially, nor can non-ALP aligned Unions inform workers that they will represent them with regard to their industrial rights.[4] In practice, the Labor Party government is attempting to force workers to join Labor Party aligned Unions – which in turn “donate” millions of dollars of members’ money to the Labor Party! One might observe that the Labor Party is paranoid of losing its grip on the Unions.

“Fake Unions” ??

The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU), the peak body of the old ALP aligned Union officialdom, has the gall to claim that the discriminatory legislation likely to be passed by the Labor government will have the effect of “protecting workers against misrepresentation by fake unions” ! The QCU waffles that “non-registered” Unions are not subject to accountability requirements under the IR act such as having rules, keeping membership records, having internal elections or allowing members access to membership lists or financial records.[5] This is pretty rich coming from the legacy Union officials, with over 100 years of collaboration with the Labor Party! As they say, the biggest lies are ones that contain partial truths. While the ALP aligned old Union officials do keep some records, have some elections for officials and keep some membership lists – the legacy Unions in their hands are barely democratic, rarely hold members and delegates meetings, and ruthlessly corral the politics into an impossibly narrow framework. The Red Union, on the other hand, has already demonstrated more democratic operations than the old Union officials will even contemplate. In fact, the old Union officials, in enforcing unconscionable vaccine mandates, revealed themselves as little more than government agents. As is often the case with insults, those hurling them demonstrate it in practice.

That being said, the Red Union makes some critical errors. They have set up associations for small businesses[6] (!), and one for police officers[7] (!!). To say the least, this is crossing the class line. Small business owners, while they may have been suppressed under Covid repression, are certainly not part of the working class. Neither are police, who are guns for hire, used by the state to protect capitalist property. Yes, police play some public role in the process, but this is not their essential function. Primarily, police are used to keep working people away from the levers of political power. The moment workers go on strike to defend themselves, police lines complete with truncheons may not be far away.

Despite this, the Workers League advises Australian workers to join and help build the Red Union, regardless of what workplace they currently occupy, and irrespective of whether or not there is also a Labor Party aligned legacy Union which has coverage. While the Red Union seeks to compete with the legacy Unions, and seeks to convince workers to cross over, they also allow dual membership. Ultimately, however, the Red Union is a crucial attempt to rebuild the Union movement in Australia, which has suffered from decades of neglect largely due to the malign influence of the capitalist Labor Party. The legacy Union officials crossed the Rubicon by blocking with the state as it attempted to enforce near genocidal “Covid” injections on innocent workers. Officials who not only refuse to defend members’ jobs, but colludes with their potential murder, are no longer fit to hold a Union banner.

At this point in history, Unions cannot avoid politics. Revolutionists seek to debate politics inside the Unions, in order to forge a class struggle leadership which is well aware that it is in the ultimate interest of workers to do away with capitalism altogether by establishing a workers’ administration which oversees a planned economy through the socialisation of the major means of production.



[1] (14-08-2022)

[2] (14-08-2022)

[3] (14-08-2022)

[4]  (14-08-2022)

[5] (14-08-2022)

[6] (14-08-2022)

[7] (14-08-2022)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s