May Day car convoy protests against attacks on workers’ rights through COVID-19 pandemic

Australian Greens

Today, Friday, May 1, a coalition of unions and social justice groups in Sydney will hold a car convoy to celebrate May Day, International Workers’ Day. The convoy will also protest against the mass unemployment and attacks on wages and conditions happening through the COVID-19 pandemic. The protest is being coordinated by the May 1 Movement.

A press conference will be held at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair at 10:15am featuring Paul McAleer, Sydney Branch Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA); Alex Suhle, Organiser with the United Workers’ Union (UWU); David Shoebridge, Greens MLC and Feiyi Zhang, Workers’ for Climate Action.

Cars and bikes will then gather on Mrs Macquarie’s rd. from 11am and move information to protest outside the Liberal Party headquarters and the Fair Work Commission on William st., Woolloomooloo. The convoy protest will respect social distancing requirements at all times.

UWU organiser Alex Suhle said:

“The United Workers Union has fought since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis for no worker to be left behind. We call on the government to extend JobKeeper and welfare to all workers, this includes migrant workers and short-term casual workers. We call on the government to nationalise businesses like Qantas and Virgin and retain their workforce, instead of paying these businesses billions of dollars to sack workers. We call on the government to look after the workers who keep this country going and to make sure no worker is left behind!”

Paul McAleer, Sydney Branch Secretary of the MUA said:

“The ruling class will use this pandemic to drive down wages and conditions, to casualise and privatise through one of the greatest austrerity programs ever inflicted on the world’s working class. Organised labour will not allow this and will fight back!”

“May Day is a globally celebrated day of class struggle. Without struggle there is no progress. May 1 Movement is fighting today and into the future for workers’ rights, social justice and climate action. There has never been greater urgency to shatter the illusion that capitalism can address any of the problems we now face. Only socialism can address the crises facing the worlds working class. Long live May Day and all those fighting around the world for a global community based on peace, justice and equality.”

David Shoebridge, NSW Greens MP said:

“This is an essential action confirming the right to remain politically engaged and demand a fairer world in the face of laws that empower police and threaten our right to peacefully demand social change.”

Feiyi Zhang, from Workers’ for Climate Action said:

“We urgently need jobs in renewable energy and other sustainable industries to meet both the unemployment crisis and the growing threat of climate catastrophe. We are unionists fighting on May Day for a just transition away from fossil fuels for workers, Indigenous communities and everyone on the front line. Almost $230 billion has been spent as stimulus by the Morrison government, much of it to subsidise private companies and maintain business as usual. A fraction of this money could allow for public planning, financing and ownership of a 100% renewable energy system in Australia.”

Other May Day car convoys are taking place in Melbourne, Newcastle and Perth.

Itinerary:

10:15am Press Conference at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair.

11am Cars and bikes gather on Mrs Macquarie’s rd. for convoy protest.

11:20am Car and bikes convoy to William st., Woolloomooloo to protest at offices of Liberal Party and the Fair Work Commission.

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