Your Rights At Work, YRAW was a community / union fighting group made up of people, including the general public. It was grass roots. For people who did not like the new industrial laws introduced by Prime Minister John Howard.
Not only did Mr Howard want to destroy the current industrial system and send workers back to the 18th and 19th century. Mr Howard also wanted to rid Australia of unions by the decline in membership numbers as workers discovered that unions under the new industrial laws could offer very little protection. Unions would soon go broke.
A gamble that backfired and may in fact one day see Mr Howard labelled as the leader who tried to destroy unions yet instead he caused the rebirth of unions.
The YRAW campaign took off.
During the campaign there were incredible achievements made by individual, such as Bernie Banton who showed people they can make a difference. The people formed local groups. Of all the things done, the thing one that has to go to the top of the list is the way all YRAW members and supports were non violence.
With the ACTU guiding them people from all walks of life refused to engage in any form of anti social behaviour towards the Howard government or it commercial minded supporters. The same can not be said for the government or its supports.
Yet this non aggressive behaviour was even more amazing when we realise that no orders were even passed down the line saying behave in a set way.
Instead of a big stick to hit people on the head and the stamping of its feet, the ACTU and the unions used a better tool. They used: Leading by example.
In all events, only peaceful civil behaviour was displayed the ACTU and the many unions leaders. This good behaviour had the effect of filtering down throughout the various groups onto the front line workers and people.
The end result of years of work for the many YRAW groups yet not a single aggressive disturbances.
Rather then fighting and general strikes the ACTU organised the biggest rejection of any Australian Government from power. An ousting that was sweetened by the prime minister Mr J Howard also loosing his own seat.
Not as visually entertaining for the masses as was a public hanging say in the early 18th century, yet it was acceptable as it is in line with the non violent approach to the campaign.
Your Rights At Work say thank you the Howard Government.
You forced unions to have a long hard look at them self and at what they were doing.
Mr Howard had his strategy in place. He was ready to combat unions in the expected style of protest such as the use of a general strike. Unfortunately for the government, a general strike was a strategy that the ACTU knew would not work. The union way of thinking has evolved.
They looked beyond today and instead made plans for the long term goal. Used the most powerful tool available to people living in a democracy. The 2007 Federal election.
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