Sunday, March 26, 2017

ACTU – Australian Unions welcome Senate Inquiry into racist CDP

Australian Unions welcome Senate Inquiry into racist CDP
23 March 2017

The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) welcomes the referral of an inquiry into the Turnbull Government’s punitive Community Development Program (CDP) to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee. This program imposes extremely onerous conditions on the overwhelmingly Indigenous population in remote communities just to receive basic support payments.

Participants in the program are required to participate in 25 hours of work per week – significantly more than the requirements for metropolitan work for the dole programs.

The program effectively provides free labour in remote communities where jobs are already scarce, replacing real, paying jobs with unpaid labour.

People who are unable to comply with the requirements of the scheme face extensive financial penalties and long periods of being cut off from support payments all together.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Indigenous Officer Kara Keys:

  • “We hope that this inquiry will shed light on this program, which is not only punitive and counter-productive but also clearly racially discriminatory.”
  • “The CDP is objectively a harsher program than anything which applies to welfare recipients in metropolitan areas, and it is no co-incidence that more than 80% of the people working under this program are Indigenous.”
  • “This program should not be tolerated but unfortunately the Government has been able to escape the condemnation it so richly deserves because this program affects some of the most marginalised people in our society.”
  • “The union movement stands with all workers and we have been campaigning against this program since its inception. We will not stop until it is replaced with a program that treats indigenous people in remote communities as equal to any other citizen of this country.”

Thursday, March 23, 2017


It should have been a routine job. 37-year-old Paul Walsh was  with a small drilling  team in Station Street , Katoomba working  on an NBN contract  when he was killed, after suffering what the Blue Mountains Gazette described as "head injuries".

According to the Construction Workers Union Paul's death on 1st April 2016 highlighted the dangers which the union believes are  inherent in the workforce model being used on the NBN contract. It's a pyramid system which the union says leads to those at the bottom exposed to the most risk.

Paul Walsh wasn't the only one to die at work last year. He was one 178, according to Safe Work Australia.

WORKERS INTERNATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY is held every year to remember the dead and fight for the living. In recognition of the day Blue Mountains Unions & Community  is holding a special meeting on Saturday April 29th at the Family Hotel in Katoomba 2.30-4.30

Guest Speakers:

  • RITA MALLIA, NSW President CFMEU General Division
  • EMMA MADDEN , assistant secretary, Unions NSW: " Workers are being killed and maimed at alarming rates. Yet the NSW Government has decimated the system that was meant to provide support for injured workers until they get back on their feet"
  • ROWAN KERNEBONE, Organiser, Injured Workers Network

"We can't bring back our loved ones, but we certainly can fight to ensure all workers are able to come home at night" - Workplace Tragedy Family Support Group.

Published by  BMUC

NSWTF – International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Submitted by nswtf on 21 March 2017

Today on this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Federation members are reminded of their responsibility as educators to organise, act and educate against racism in all its forms.

Federation’s Anti – Racism Policy applies to all Federation members and employees and through its decisions and policies, will heed the voices of its members and students who are subjected to racial abuse, discrimination or vilification.

On this very day, the Federal Coalition will be discussing its potential changes to the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA), in particular 18C. Section 18C of the RDA makes it unlawful to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’ someone because of their race or ethnicity. Section 18C and 18D were introduced to the RDA in 1995 in response to recommendations of major inquiries including the National Inquiry into Racist Violence, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Multiculturalism and the Law report.

Any attempt to change Section 18C to allow offending, insulting, humiliating or intimidating of a person due to their race to be lawful, must be rejected in the strongest possible way. Apart from the huge impact on individuals, the signal to the broader community would impact on social cohesion and inclusion, values which public school teachers, students and their communities hold dear.

Members are urged to email their opposition to changes to 18C to their local coalition Members of Parliament or Barnaby Joyce who has said that this is not an issue that is important to Australians.

The Australian Human Rights Commission found in a survey of 2380 young people aged 13 – 17 that 87% had either experienced or witnessed racism. That racism was found to most commonly occur at school (43%) or online (33%).

For copies of Federation’s Anti – racism policy, charter, ccampaign resources such as posters, information about racism, good practice case studies as well as professional readings, go to Federation’s Anti – racism website or contact Amber Flohm, Federation’s Multicultural Officer/Organiser on

There are a number of other resources to assist members to address racism in their classrooms and workplaces, as well as in their wider community.

The Human Rights Commission’s campaign ‘Racism. It Stops with Me’, of which the Federation is a proud supporter.

‘What you say matters’ particularly targets a youth audience while the UN also provides a plethora of resources on racial discrimination.

Nurses see first tranche of Sunday penalty rate cuts

Nurses see first tranche of Sunday penalty rate cuts thanks to emboldened billion-dollar healthcare employer

22 March 2017

Nurses working for Sonic Health Plus could see their award-aligned Sunday penalty rates cut from 75% to 50%, in what is expected to be worrying trend for Australian workers.

Sonic Health Plus nurses are currently on a non-union approved EBA, in which they receive award Sunday penalty rates. The ANMF and other unions opposed the EBA when it was being certified in 2014.

In fresh EBA negotiations, Sonic Health Plus has this week proposed the nurses’ Sunday penalty rates are cut by at least a third. This is move seemingly inspired by the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to cut Sunday penalty rates for 700,000 retail, hospitality and pharmacy workers.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

  • “It’s no coincidence that Sonic Health Plus has proposed these wage claims just a few days after Prime Minister Turnbull said he supported the penalty rate cuts.”
  • “This is a sign of the times; the Fair Work Commission decision to cut penalty rates has emboldened employers and no Australian worker is safe unless the Government steps in now.”
  • “Just last month Sonic Healthcare, the parent company of Sonic Health Plus, announced a net profit of $197 million and revenue of $2.5 billion. Now it wants to cut the wages of its nursing staff.”
  • “The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), representing Sonic Health Plus nurses, has rejected the attempts to cut the Sunday penalty rates of any nurses during negotiations. Without the support of the ANMF, these nurses would absolutely receive further pay cuts.”
  • “Penalty rates and take home pay must be protected. Prime Minister Turnbull stop the cuts, stand up for working Australians and end any excuse for employers to cut wages.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

ACTU – Aerocare Disgrace – Corporate Disregard for Australian Workers

21 March 2017

Australians are rightly horrified at the extreme working conditions being imposed on Aerocare workers, who play a crucial role at our major airports to ensure the journeys of thousands of travellers are comfortable and smooth every day.

The revelations aired on ABC’s 7.30 program last night are shocking, and come as a reminder of the struggle faced by too many Australian workers to maintain good wages and decent working conditions.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

  • “We are seeing these flagrant abuses of workers’ rights with alarming regularity - it’s almost impossible now to avoid the conclusion that there are massive systematic failings with our workplace laws.”
  • “When Australian workers are forced to sleep rough on the job site because their roster is so onerous and pay so meagre, it’s clear that there is an urgent need for change.
  • “The air travel industry is booming – Aerocare itself reported a $13 million profit last year, while our four main airports in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth generated a staggering $1.8 billion in profit.”
  • “There’s no shortage of money to pay workers decent wages and treat them fairly - so if employers aren’t going to do the right thing, then it’s time we change the law to make sure worker’s rights are sacrosanct.”