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Lockdown IV: Lock Hard

I’m frustrated that we have to do this again, but I’m optimistic that we’ll get the job done.

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- Luke Hilakari, Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council

Comrades, I’m frustrated but I’m optimistic. 

With Melbourne in the midst of its fourth lockdown, there’s a lot of anxiety in the community and I feel it too. 

I’m frustrated about the things that were placed in the hands of the Morrison Government, which have been so comprehensively mismanaged. But I’m optimistic that we can once again come together as Victorians to protect each other. 

I’m frustrated that we have to do this again, but I’m optimistic that we’ll get the job done. 

If not for the Prime Minister’s refusal to take responsibility for quarantine, we would not be in this position. If it weren’t for the Prime Minister’s bungling of the vaccine rollout, we would not be in this position. If he learnt the lessons of last year he would have fixed the staffing problems and vaccine distribution in aged care.

Scott Morrison: Fix Your COVID Mess

You might have seen this ad on TV in the last week:

Australians have had enough.

Scott Morrison has consistently failed us as Prime Minister. He has done everything he can to blame others for his mistakes.

This latest lockdown makes it painfully obvious that there’s no time to waste. There are three things Scott Morrison needs to do right now

1) Establish JobKeeper 2, 

2) Build Federal quarantine facilities, and 

3) Get everyone vaccinated

That’s why I’ve started this petition: to tell Scott Morrison, it's time for you to stop shifting the blame. It’s our jobs and health on the line.

But we’ll play the hand we’re dealt for the time being, like we unionists always have. 

Victoria: The Solidarity State

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With all of those failures in mind, it’s important to remind ourselves of how we get it done when it falls to us. 

First: look out for each other. We might not be able to see each other in person, but call or text or Zoom or game with your comrades and catch up just like you normally would if we could be together. Give your elderly folk a call to see if they’re okay. Be patient at work with people who might be balancing homeschooling or other challenges. And of course, adhere to the health directives - it’s an incredible, statewide act of solidarity. 

 
Dig out those masks again (or pick up a few more)

Dig out those masks again (or pick up a few more)

 

Second: give yourself a break. You are a human being whose emotions are influenced by the world around you. You are not going to be 100% productive all the time. If your boss is expecting the impossible from you, organise with your coworkers and stand together in union to fight for your mental and physical workplace health and safety. (You can get heaps of advice about how to set up worker-led health and safety structures here). 

Third: when in doubt, call the union. We’ve seen that in lockdowns past employers can be prone to shady practices either in regard to safety or entitlements. If you don’t feel safe, you can refuse unsafe work. If you aren’t getting what you’re entitled to, speak up about it.

This is going to be different to other lockdowns because it will be the first one after the conclusion of JobKeeper. Scott Morrison knew full well that more lockdowns were potentially going to happen, but he ended the support payment that so many workers were depending on. To do anything else right now but reinstate JobKeeper would be callous and stupid. But until that happens, it’s up to us to hold employers to account.

So stay in touch, not just personally but industrially too. In times of confusion, it’s more important than ever to stick together and not let the boss take advantage of the flux. 

We’ll do it like we’ve done it in the past. It’ll be up to Scott Morrison and his Government whether we have to do it again in the future. 

Comrades, I’m frustrated but I’m optimistic. With Melbourne in the midst of a 7-day lockdown, there’s a lot of anxiety in the community and I feel it too. I’m frustrated about the things that were placed in the hands of the Morrison Government, which have been so comprehensively mismanaged. But I’m optimistic that we can once again come together as Victorians to protect each other. 

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