Politicians feel online heat

The ACTU’s campaign website has proved a useful tool to convince our politicians they must stand up for our rights at work.

Among all the activities over the last few months by union members in defence of their rights at work – workplace actions, rallies and television ads – one of the more interesting and innovative approaches has been the use of the internet.

Taking its cue from some successful American online campaigns, unions acting through the ACTU, set up a ‘Your Rights At Work’ website late last year, which had an immediate impact.

A phenomenal 85,189 people signed a petition and wrote comments asking National’s Senator Barnaby Joyce to cross the floor on WorkChoices. ACTU President Sharan Burrow presented the 6000-page document to Senator Joyce on 28 November in Parliament House.

A second campaign to get workers to send submissions to the Senate Inquiry into WorkChoices started with a modest goal of collecting 200 submissions. That was eclipsed within a few hours and over the five days of the campaign more than 5000 people made submissions to the Inquiry.

In a third campaign nearly 1500 people made calls to Coalition Senators in their state asking them to do the right thing and cross the floor on WorkChoices.

The site offers other possibilities for union members and supporters to join the nationwide campaign against WorkChoices:

  • you can donate to a fund so unions can run more television ads to inform the public about the impact of the government’s changes.
  • there is a box of campaign tools with posters, flyers, info packs and other resources to help you spread the message about the need to protect our rights at work.

The site is worth a regular visit to keep in touch with the latest activities: http://www.rightsatwork.com.au/