Sunday, September 30, 2018

ACTU – Win for retail workers on penalty rates

28 September 2018

People working in retail have had a major win after an application by the SDA to the Fair Work Commission to raise penalty rates for 350,000 casual retail workers working Saturdays and weekday evening shifts was upheld.

People covered by the General Retail Industry Award working Saturdays, and weekdays before 5am and after 6pm, will receive a boost in stages over the next several years. This will have a flow-on effect into major enterprise agreements in the industry.

Currently people working under casual arrangements on Saturdays receive 135 percent of the base rate, including a 25 percent casual loading. That will rise from November this year over the next three years.

People who currently get 125 percent of the base rate, including the 25 percent casual loading, for working weekday evenings and early mornings will also get a boost from November 1 over several years.

However, the Commission also decided to cut the penalty rates that both permanent and casual workers receive on Sundays for hours after 6pm and before 5am.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus: 

  • “When people give up their weekends and work late nights and early mornings, they should be paid a bit extra.
  • “Today’s win by the SDA will boost the pay of people working as casuals on Saturdays and doing early mornings and late nights on weekdays.
  • “This is a major win by a union who stood up to a concerted and well-resourced campaign by employers to cut the pay of working people.
  • “But the cuts to Sunday rates, along with earlier cuts show our system is out of balance and gives big business too much power.
  • “The Fair Work Commission should not be allowed to cut people’s pay. At a time of record low wage growth, when working people are struggling to keep up with the cost of living, we need to make sure people are getting fair pay rises, not pay cuts.
  • “We need to change the rules so that the Fair Work Commission can protect and advance the minimum standards in awards, instead of being pressured by big business to cut the pay of working people.”

ACTU – Interim report shows urgent need for bank reform

28 September 2018

Banks have been routinely exploiting their own employees and customers and have been shown to be incapable of responsibly handling worker’s money, according the interim report of the Banking Royal Commission, released today.

Both customers and workers have been exploited by banks which have been given too much power and have been pursuing profit regardless of the consequences of their actions.

We need to reform the system to protect workers and customers, and to get banks out of the superannuation system, which should be not-for-profit and run by members.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:  

  • “The treasurer has admitted that banks have put profit before customers. He, and his government, should act to get banks out of super and protect the retirement incomes of working people.
  • “We need to get the banks out of super. Industry funds are non-profit, run for members and produce better returns. There is no upside to the banks for anyone other than their shareholders.
  • “The banking sector needs urgent reform to ensure that customers and workers are treated properly and that the actions revealed by this commission are not allowed to continue.”

Quotes attributable to FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano:

  • “The culture within banks, led by executives focused on sales and short term profit, is fundamentally broken.  Bank workers, like the community have been victims of greedy bank Executives.  We need fundamental change to the way our banks operate.
  • “Finance workers are the link between customers and the institutions where they work. It is vital that these workers are able to contribute their perspectives and experience in a genuine and meaningful manner in the ongoing reform of our industry.”

ACTU – Union win: Alcoa workers vote for new deal, securing jobs

28 September 2018

After six picket lines over 53 days on five sites involving 1500 people, workers at Alcoa have voted to approve a new agreement which locks in job security by preventing the creep of contracting, labour-hire and casualization in the workplace.

This has been a difficult dispute but the workers at Alcoa have shown what is possible when workers stand together and demand fair treatment.

Workers faced the possibility of having their wages cut back to the award after the employer moved to terminate their agreement at the Fair Work Commission.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • “Congratulations to all the workers who stood up and demanded secure jobs, this is a great example of the power of working people.
  • “This is a major win for these workers and for the entire union movement.
  • ”The ACTU has been proud to stand with and support these workers who have been out on the grass for a month and a half.
  • “AWU members have stayed strong and refused to be intimidated by the possibility of being pushed back onto the award, but we have to change the rules so that no working person can be threatened in this way again.
  • “This has been an incredible effort and the workers involved have had to withstand an incredible amount of stress and uncertainty. It shouldn’t be this hard for workers to get better pay and conditions.
  • “Employers need to understand that if they try and threaten workers, we will stand up, we will be supported and we will fight for as long as it takes.”

Saturday, September 29, 2018

ABC Friends calls for Australians to rally to defend the independence of Our ABC

The firestorm that hit the ABC this week is an opportunity for Australians to demand that all political parties commit to absolute independent governance of the ABC.

ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said Australians must insist the ABC is totally free of political influence and properly funded so that board and management can fulfil the requirements of the ABC Charter in the interests of all who rely on our public broadcaster for news, information and entertainment.

That is the vision of ABC Friends and our work has continuously advocated these fundamental principles for Australian public broadcasting.

The removal of CEO Michelle Guthrie, Chairman Justin Milne's resignation and two announced inquiries give the Government the opportunity to re-commit to a fully transparent process.

In recent years ABC board selection has been compromised despite having a nomination panel to recommend directorial appointments. But the selection is finally up to the Minister for Communications; two of the last four appointments were “captain's calls” as the individuals were not recommended by the panel. This has created a board with little experience in the current demands of public broadcasting.

ABC Friends National President Margaret Reynolds said it was essential that the next Managing Director has relevant Board expertise and support, plus a Chairman clearly committed to defending staff and the organisation's ability to perform with confidence and freedom and with a passion for public broadcasting.

ABC Friends National reminds all parliamentarians and candidates at the next Federal Election that the ABC is not a government entity:  It is owned by the taxpayers and is a vital part of this country's democratic system.

We agree with the Australia Institute proposal that a cross party selection committee should be urgently considered as a necessary reform to the management and governance of the ABC.

We will be continuing to advocate Our Vision as a ‘Statement of the Rights, Responsibilities and Values we expect from both the Government and from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’:-
Clear explanations and open procedures and processes when the government appoints future ABC board members and board chairpersons.

Transparency of ABC board and management decision-making – particularly the sharing on a regular basis of the objectives of policy decisions and of programming.

 Recognition by the government of the day that the ABC’s authority and its role in the Australian media landscape depends on its independence and freedom from political influence. The Senate estimates and other hearings should ensure public scrutiny and accountability.

Financial security being essential for sound management and for board decision-making, there is a clear need for the ABC budget to be secure and at a level which ensures the ABC can fulfil its Charter requirements that it provide the highest quality of programming with depth, range and diversity for all Australia.  A five-year rolling budget is recommended.

And, lastly, that the ABC’s prime objective is to set the ‘gold standard’ for ethical, quality, specialist and diverse broadcasting nationally in the interests of informing, entertaining and stimulating our robust Australian democratic way of life.

Margaret Reynolds
President ABC Friends National
0418 181 843
28 September 2018

You can join the Friends and/or donate to our campaign here: 

Henry Lawson – "Second Class Wait Here" (1896) Then as Now !

NSW Newapaper The Burrangong Argus May 6 (1868)
"Second class wait here" (1896)
(For The Elector)

By Henry Lawson

On suburban railway stations, you may see them as you pass,
There are signboards on the platform saying, saying,
"Wait here second class ;"
And to me, the whirl and thunder, and thunder, and the "clack" of running gear,
Seems to be for ever saying, saying
"Second class wait here--
"Wait here second class",
Second class wait here",
Seems to be for ever saying, " Second class wait here."

And the second class were waiting in the days of serf and prince,
And the second class are waiting, they've been waiting ever since.
There be gardens in the back-ground, and the line is bare and drear,
Yet they wait beneath a signboard, saying "second class wait here"
"Wait here second class,"
"Second class wait here."
Yet they wait beneath a signboard, sneering "second class wait here."

I have waited oft in winter, in the mornings dark and damp,
When the asphalt platform glistened, underneath the lonely lamp.
Ghastly on the brick-faced cutting, "Sellams Soap" and " Blower's Beer";
Ghastly on enamelled signboards, with their
"second class wait here";
"Wait here second class" ;
"Second class wait here,"
Ghastly on enamelled signboards, with their
"second class wait here."

And the others seemed like burglars, slouched and muffled to the throats,
Standing round apart and silent, in their shoddy overcoats,
And the wind among the wires, and the poplars bleak and bare,
Seems to be for ever snarling, snarling, "second class wait there,"
"Wait there second class".
"Second class wait there."
Seems to be for ever snarling, snarling "second class wait there,"

Out beyond the futher suburb, 'neath a chimney stack alone,
Lay the works of Grinder Brothers, with a platform of their own,
And I waited there and suffered, waited there for many a year,
Slaved beneath a phantom signboard, telling our class to wait here,
"Wait here second class,"
"Second class wait here."
Slaved beneath a phantom signboard, asking our class to wait here.

Ah ! a man must feel revengeful for boyhood such as mine.
God ! I hate the very houses, near the workshop by the line ;
And the smell of railway stations, and the roar of running gear,
And the everlasting signboards, with their
"second class wait here" ;
"Wait here second class,"
"Second class wait here,"
And the scornful-seeming signboards saying "second class wait here."

There's a train with death for driver, which is ever going past,
And there are no class compartments, and we all must go at last.
To the long white jasper platform, with an Eden in the rear ;
And there won't be any signboards, saying
"second class wait here "
"Wait here second class,"
"Second class wait here."
And there won't be any signboards saying
"second class wait here."

NSWTF – Highs and Lows

Dear Colleague,

Throughout this term there have been a number of highs and lows affecting public education, its teachers and students.

As a result of ongoing campaign actions and negotiations with the department, we have achieved:

a moratorium on staffing transfers for drought-affected schools
Federation having a role in the design of new and refurbished schools, to ensure pedagogy drives design, rather than the other way around commitments from the department to address issues of administrative workload interfering with teaching and learning significant increases in financial incentives for teachers in rural and remote parts of NSW.

During term 3 we also participated in the Fair Funding Now! National Week of Action, with teachers in NSW hosting and participating in more than 130 events. This display of community support shows the strength of our union to engage with our communities and bring people on board to campaign for justice for our students and for public education.

Unfortunately, ongoing chaos in Canberra produced another change in Prime Minister, and with that change, a new push to return to the old, unfair funding models of the past that saw the majority of federal funding delivered to the minority of students in independent schools.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s announcement of an additional $4.6 billion for the non-government school sector, which has been widely criticised as a cynical move to buy votes ahead of the next federal election, offered not a single dollar in additional, needs-based funding for students of public schools.

This blatant favouring of non-government schools over the public sector shows his deep contempt for the majority of Australian children, and a particular disregard for the majority of students facing socio-educational disadvantage that are taught by the public system.

This injustice cannot stand.

When we return in Term 4, the Fair Funding Now! campaign will be ramping up in the lead-up to the federal election. We know that the majority of Australians agree with the principles of needs-based education funding, and often something as simple as a personal conversation can secure their support at the ballot box.

After a restful break, when we return in Term 4 we will be doing whatever it takes to secure a fair, needs-based funding model for our students, and for the future of public education.

If you have not already done so, I encourage you to add your name to the Fair Funding Now! letter to Minister Stokes. You can do so via this link


Maurie Mulheron

Suppression of unions In South Korea

Some of the country's conglomerates have a bad track record of suppressing labor unions. One of them is Samsung Group, Korea's largest family-run chaebol, which is infamous for preventing its workers from setting up unions since its founding in 1938.

Samsung's latest anti-labor move dates back to 2013 when Rep. Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party disclosed the group's 2012 document detailing its strategy against unions. Then the umbrella labor union of metal workers lodged a complaint against 36 executives and managers, including Chairman Lee Kun-hee, for alleged unfair labor practices.

In 2015 under the rule of conservative President Park Geun-hye, the prosecution decided not to bring any charges against them, saying it found no evidence proving the allegation. But, the prosecution started reinvestigating the case in February this year after securing additional documents aimed at disrupting the Samsung labor union.

On Thursday, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office indicted 16 former and incumbent executives from Samsung Electronics and Samsung Electronics Services on charges of suppressing the labor union and its members. The office also brought charges against seven chiefs of the services' subcontractors and three officials from the Korea Employers Federation (KEF) for collaborating with Samsung in the alleged illegal scheme against the union. The world's top electronics maker and the services company were also inducted.

According to investigators, Samsung Group had made systematic attempts to disintegrate the union, which workers at Samsung Electronics Services formed in 2013. The group even mobilized KEF officials, senior police officers and former labor ministry officials to solicit advice on how best to neutralize the union.

More serious was that the accused group officials pressured employees to quit the union. They even threatened to cut the wages of union members. In addition, the officials did not hesitate to force subcontractors to go under if they were found to be friendly toward unions or unionists.

Samsung's alleged anti-union scheme, if found true, is illegal. It is also against the Constitution, which guarantees the three labor rights -- the right to organize, the right to collective bargaining and the right to collective action.

Samsung's "no labor unions" policy is anachronistic. How can it continue such a policy, which was only possible under military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s? Mobilizing every possible means to prevent union activities is not only harmful to employees, but also to companies. It would be better for companies to work out a win-win strategy for management and labor.

It is time for Samsung and other big corporations to change their hostile attitudes toward unions and their members. The conglomerates should no longer regard workers as components to produce goods and services. They must treat employees as valuable human resources as well as partners. Only then can businesses, especially big ones, prevent a recurrence of Samsung's shameful case.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Argentina General Strike

ARGENTINA’S largest trade union body, the General Confederation of Workers (CGT), held a 24-hour general strike yesterday against austerity policies imposed at the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The previous day, the Argentinian Workers Centre (CTA) launched a parallel 36-hour strike, backed by several smaller unions, neighbourhood associations and social movements, over the social and economic policies of President Mauricio Macri’s government.

The unions vowed to continue protests until there is a change in policy or government.

Mr Macri’s authority was further weakened yesterday when central bank president Luis Caputo resigned during the general strike.

The president, who has already announced his intention to seek re-election next year, has faced massive protests and four national strikes over his capitalist austerity agenda.

His government is in hock to the IMF, which handed over a $50 billion (£40bn) emergency loan in June, conditional on rigid austerity measures.

“Either this economic model falls or these people leave the government,” said Pablo Micheli of the CTA.

The strike calls were successful, with streets empty, railway and bus stations closed and most flights to and from Ezeiza and Jorge Newbery airports cancelled.

State schools axed classes, public hospitals received medical emergencies only and banks were shut.

Agricultural workers also backed the general strike, with the Union of Landless Rural Workers, Via Campesina, tweeting: “The Campesinos struggle against the neoliberal austerity of the Cambiemos government. #GetOutIMF #GeneralStrike #EnoughHunger #PopularAgrarianReform #WorkersUnity.”

Cambiemos is the coalition of right-wing parties supporting the Macri presidency.

The trade unions are demanding collective agreements to compensate for loss of buying power due to increasing inflation, along with suspending redundancies and the declaration of a food emergency to counter the effects of the economic crisis.

They also want to stop the approval process for the 2019 national budget, which would deepen social austerity still further.

We need “a change of course,” argued Hector Daer of the CGT directive council, saying the president “must understand that he doesn’t only need to be accountable and bear good news for financial speculators and IMF authorities.”

MEAA – ABC Staff Call for Justin Milne to stand aside while an independent inquiry takes place.

Reports this morning alleged that the ABC chairman, Justin Milne, sought to interfere in editorial and staffing decisions at the ABC. MEAA believes that, if true, they would indicate Mr Milne has no understanding of editorial independence, proper complaints handling processes, or the appropriate distance a board chair needs to keep from staffing matters.

Staff meetings were held at ABC offices today. The resolutions below were passed by staff members at these locations.

Passed at ABC Ultimo:

“We call for an independent inquiry into the allegations that have been made in the media today, and for the chairman to stand down in the interim while the investigation takes place. The idea behind the investigation is to secure the editorial independence of the ABC from top to bottom.”

Passed at ABC Melbourne:

"ABC staff in Melbourne are calling for the chairman Justin Milne to stand aside while an independent inquiry takes place. The ABC is, and always has been, a fiercely independent news organisation and it is of no concern to our program makers or journalists whether they are hated by any government. We are dismayed that the chairman of our own board is exerting political pressure behind closed doors. Mr Milne’s position as chairman of the board is untenable if he does not support the ABC’s fierce pursuit of journalism without political interference."

Passed by ABC Brisbane:

"This meeting calls on the chairman to publicly acknowledge if the political interference in the reported email is true and, if so, immediately resign from his position”.

Passed by ABC Tasmania newsroom:

"ABC MEAA staff in the Tasmanian newsroom join calls for the Chairman Justin Milne to stand aside while an independent inquiry takes place. We are dismayed that the chairman of our own board appears to be exerting political pressure behind closed doors. Mr Milne’s position as chairman of the board is untenable if he does not support the ABC’s fierce pursuit of journalism without political interference."

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Morrison govt funding deal abandons 2.5 million public school students

The Morrison government has pledged an additional $4.6 billion in funding over the next decade to the Catholic and Independent school sectors.

However public schools have not received one single extra dollar in funding, despite the federal government previously cutting public school funding by $1.9 billion for 2018 and 2019.

The deal consists of three measures:

$170.8m in interim funding in 2019, including a guarantee that independent schools get at least 3% funding growth

$3.2bn from 2020 to 2029, by replacing the socio-economic status score of communities’ capacity to contribute to schools with a new direct measure of parents’ income

$1.2bn from 2020 to 2029 for the Choice and Affordability Fund to be allocated for non-government schools for a wide range of uses, including assisting regional and remote schools and “to deliver choice in communities”

Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan described the $1.2bn Choice and Affordability Fund as “sector-blind”, despite the fact only independent and Catholic schools can apply.

It ostensibly is to help drought-affected private schools in rural, regional and remote areas. However data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that public schools teach 74% of children in outer regional areas, 77.5% of children in remote areas and 88% in very remote areas. None of these students will benefit from this Choice and Affordability Fund.

This announcement shows that the Morrison government has turned its back on the 2.5 million children attending public schools in Australia.

No funding in this $4.6 billion funding announcement will go to students in public schools, or to build and maintain essential school infrastructure. Private schools already have an existing $1.9 billion capital works special deal.

The nation’s 2.5 million public school students are now counting on state and territory education ministers to stand up and fight for public schools.

State and territory education ministers must not sign up to new funding deals with the Commonwealth unless the Morrison government offers a genuine needs-based deal that provides full funding of 100 per cent of the SRS for every public school in Australia.

Colonial Frontiers Massacres map wins best digital map 2018

The Colonial Frontiers Massacres Map has won the best digital map award at the 2018 New Zealand Cartographic Society GeoCart Conference.

Mark Brown and Bill Pascoe

The map was submitted to the National Map Exhibition at the conference and a panel of judges decided on how successfully the map delivered on its stated purpose, taking into account its design, execution and presentation. The cutting edge online tool took out the digital category with map software developers Dr Bill Pascoe and Dr Mark Brown at the conference to accept the award.

Dr Bill Pascoe said it was fantastic to see the map recognised for its usefulness.

"The map has been designed so that it’s easy to see at a glance where the massacres took place with the option to delve into more detailed information," Dr Pascoe said. "It makes reliable information available to inform public debate. By making it easy to see and access the evidence, I think it has changed a lot of people's minds about our history.”

Developed by University of Newcastle historian, Professor Lyndall Ryan, a member of the Centre for 21st Century Humanities and the Centre for the History of Violence, the map stems from a project funded by an Australian Research Council (ARC) grant investigating Violence on the Australian Colonial Frontier, 1788-1960.

Stage 2 of the map was launched in July 2018 with an 81 additional massacre sites added to the map. This brings the total number of massacres recorded on the map to 250 following an influx of valuable information and evidence from regional communities around Australia following the map's first launch a year ago.

Professor Ryan said the map website received a huge spike in visits on the day of the launch of stage 2 with over 31,000 people viewing the map. Its release was followed by accompanying media reports in Australia and across the globe.

“The map continues to receive a high number of page views every day, showing there is a high level of community interest and engagement with the map. The interest particularly comes from regional Australia, where most of the incidents took place, suggesting that people in the regions really do want to know what happened,” Professor Ryan said.

Stage 3 of the project, which will include sites in Western Australia as well as the rest of Australia from 1788-1960, requires further funding.

The research team welcomes suggestions for additions or modifications to the site, the data and the map.  People can visit the website and click the contact tab, where they can provide details via a form; or they can email and attach any relevant documents.

Make a donation to support development of stage 3 of the map.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Productivity Commission overly Sunny report on inequality

Labor has criticised the Productivity Commission’s recent landmark report on inequality, saying it has taken an overly sunny view of the ability of Australians to move from rags to riches.

Andrew Leigh, Labor’s shadow assistant treasurer, says the commission’s failure to delve deeply enough into inequality data means it has produced a report that skates over the very real problems of Australia’s generational inequality.

Leigh, a former professor of economics at the Australian National University, will make his argument on Tuesday evening, when he delivers the Evatt Foundation NSW Parliament Lecture on generational inequality.

Leigh will use the speech, which Guardian Australia has seen, to explain how governments can improve intergenerational mobility rates in Australia.

He will talk about the need to give children the greatest possible start in life by reducing “pre-birth inequality”, emphasising the vital importance of healthy pregnancies, paid parental leave, properly funded legal aid for family violence victims, and the ability to visit a doctor without worrying about the cost.

Number of Australians living below poverty line has not declined since 1980s

But he will also criticise the Productivity Commission’s recent report on income and wealth inequality, which was published in August.

I was surprised to see that the Productivity Commission’s recent report took such a sunny view about mobility in Australia, concluding that ‘economic mobility is high in Australia, with almost everyone moving across the income distribution over the course of their lives’,” Leigh will say.

“Implicit in this statement is that we should be pleased if we see some movement – in effect, that the benchmark should be feudalism rather than equal opportunity.
“If you think that any mobility is good, you’ll be pleased with the status quo. If you think we should aspire to be a nation where babies born into poor households have the same life chances as babies born into rich households, you’ll conclude that we could do a lot better.”

In 2007, Leigh conducted a study on how much parents’ income affects the incomes of their children, a measure known as “intergenerational elasticity”. It was the first internationally comparable estimate of Australia’s intergenerational elasticity.

Leigh says studies of intergenerational elasticity consider the impact on children’s incomes of a 10% increase in parental incomes – if a 10% increase in parental incomes boosts children’s incomes by 10%, we might conclude that it’s essentially impossible to jump up or down the social hierarchy.

But if the same increase in parental income had zero impact on children, then we’d be looking at a society where everyone moved across social classes based on their talents, not their parents.

Leigh says in the United States, a 10% increase in parental income translates into about a 5% increase in children’s incomes, while in Scandinavian nations, it means less than a 2% increase.

“In other words, parental income matters more than twice as much in the United States,” he says.

Leigh says in 2007 he judged that a 10% increase in parental income boosted children’s incomes by around 2.5% in Australia, which suggested Australia was less mobile than Scandinavia, but more mobile than the United States.

“But in 2017, researchers used the same methodology – with considerably more data – and revised the estimate upwards to 3.5%,” he says.

Leigh says in Australia, a more progressive tax system, a more employee-friendly industrial relations system, and competition laws that limit monopoly power are likely to deliver a more equal society, which in turn is likely to lead to greater mobility.

An increase in home ownership rates will also improve social mobility, he says.

He will reiterate that a Labor government would task the Productivity Commission to produce an Equality of Opportunity Report every five years.

“Like the Intergenerational Report, it would aim to focus national attention on how Australia is tracking in improving social mobility,” he said.

MEAA – News Corp staff shown little respect in latest job cuts


MEAA condemns the announcement from News Corporation via a statement to the Fairfax-owned Australian Financial Review that at least 30 editorial positions will be made redundant.

The positions will be a mixture of voluntary and forced redundancies. Journalists at leading metro mastheads as well as production staff will lose their jobs. Production positions will be shifted from News to the AAP subsidiary Pagemasters.

MEAA notes that News made sub-editors and other production staff redundant in the Northern Territory and South Australia just a few months ago.

News Corporation did not consult with the affected staff or their unions prior to making the announcement – as required by their enterprise agreement. MEAA is seeking answers from News Corp management about the future of production positions in other states.

MEAA Media director Katelin McInerney said: 
“It is disrespectful to workers to read in a rival publication this morning that they will lose their jobs. 

  • The company should have been honest and upfront with its employees. 
  • News should have given its people the opportunity to look at other job options and ways to assist the company to meet its cost reduction targets. 
  • It’s outrageous that the company should treat loyal and long-serving specialist employees so shabbily.”

MEAA will meet with union members at News Corp shortly.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Labor – companies with more than 1000 employees will be required to publicly reveal their gender pay gap.

Today Labor announced that companies with more than 1000 employees will be required to publicly reveal their gender pay gap.

Additionally, the public service will conduct gender pay audits within the first year of a Shorten Labor Government to help narrow the pay gap in the public service. 

Sign our petition calling on the Liberals to legislate Labor's gender pay proposal.

The gender pay gap won’t fix itself. Pay discrimination is never acceptable. 

Australia is 50 years away from closing the pay gap. This is not good enough

Mr Morrison, and the Liberals and Nationals, its time to fix the gender pay gap.

The average woman working full time earns about $27,000 less per year compared to the average man working full time. This blows out to a $53,000 difference for women in managerial positions.

We cannot wait any longer for equality. Sign our petition today.

Thank you for your support.

Tanya Plibersek
Deputy Leader of the Opposition.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

MUA fears fatality at VICT terminal at Webb Dock in Victoria

Posted by Mua communications on September 13, 2018

Five accidents in quick succession this week at the VICT terminal with a hospitalisation overnight has raised fears of an imminent fatality at the dock.

MUA Deputy National Secretary Will Tracey warned that a dramatic escalation in hours of work at the site and woefully inadequate manning has led to an unsafe workplace and is calling on Worksafe Victoria to intervene immediately before a worker is killed or seriously injured.

  • “Workers are being required to work excessive 12 hour shifts back to back with workers being required to regularly work 6 to 8 in a row with minimum breaks before being called in again.
  • “We have many examples of people working over 50 to 60 hours of overtime in the fortnight outside of their rostered normal hours of work.
  • “That is in effect an 8-day work week. It’s dangerous and must stop immediately.
  • “A lack of manning and training has resulted in workers reporting exhaustion as management stands over workers to stay on the job to meet operational targets.
  • ‘The increased hours come after fatigue related training a week ago, but workers report many are scared to raise issues around fatigue for fear of reprisals after heated exchanges with management on the job in the last few days.

“The worker taken to hospital and the various other incidents needs to be investigated by Worksafe Victoria but it is clear that fatigue has played the major role in these incidents,” Will Tracey said.

About VICT

VICT is the Australian company owned by notorious international transport business ICTSI. It operates the third terminal at Webb dock. 

ICTSI is in business with some of the most dangerous regimes in the world including the Government of Sudan who are listed by the US State Department as a State sponsor of terrorism.

ICTSI were awarded the rights to operate the dock by the previous Liberal Government in 2014.

'Advance Australia Fair is an anthem that is racist at so many levels'

Songwriter Shane Howard, who’s no slouch with words and melody, recently commented on social media about the latest furore over the national anthem and the defiant stand, sorry, non-stand, of Brisbane schoolgirl Harper Nielsen, aged nine.

“This young girl deserves our utmost respect and admiration. Certainly not our derision. Who is the mature thinker in all of this clatter? It's certainly not the adults banging on about how she should be chastised. Let's be honest. What she says is patently true and we all know it.

"Advance Australia Fair is an anthem that is racist at so many levels, written for a white Australia that is irrelevant, or should be. Apologies to the writer but it's also poorly crafted lyrically, is largely meaningless sentimentality and is a substandard melody. It's time for the whingeing faux patriotic grown-ups to grow up.

“For goodness sake, a nine-year-old girl just gave us all a lesson in truth and kicked our backsides to move forward. It's time for a new anthem and a new flag while we're at it. They had their time and now they're irrelevant. Let's move on.”

Howard, of course, is the writer of Australia’s unofficial anthem Solid Rock. His love of this country, of Indigenous life and culture, its history of survival, dispossession, resilience and faith runs deep into the earth.

It’s easy to dismiss the anthem incident of 2018 in a Brisbane primary school as a storm in a tea cup. A schoolkid finds it offensive to stand for an anthem that she says does not ring true. “When it says 'we are young' it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years," she said. “When it was originally written, Advance Australia Fair meant advance the white people of Australia."

Friday, September 21, 2018

NSWTF – Coalition’s corrupt school funding proposal lacks fairness

September 21, 2018

The Morrison Government’s funding deal for Catholic and independent schools fails to address the urgent needs of public school students in NSW.

NSW Teachers Federation President Maurie Mulheron said the Coalition’s $4.6 billion increase to private school funding was an attempt to buy votes ahead of the next Federal election.

  • "This is inequitable, unfair and a corrupt funding model," Mr Mulheron said.
  • "We support the response of NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes who is reported today to have rejected the latest Morrison plan as failing to ‘treat every student and every school with fairness’."
  • "Mr Stokes knows that what is at stake here is adequate funding for our public schools to meet the needs of every student," Mr Mulheron said.
  • "When Rob Stokes says this funding deal is grossly unfair to public school students, Scott Morrison ought to be taking notice."
  • "The Federal Government has ripped billions of dollars from our public schools. We want public school students to have smaller class sizes, more one-on-one support and additional teachers and support staff."
  • "But Scott Morrison and Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan are ignoring the needs of public schools, public school students and their teachers."
  • "This funding deal fails to provide a single additional dollar for students in public schools. It is totally unacceptable to fund private schools while failing to meet the needs of public school students."

Mr Mulheron said teachers in public schools taught 74% of children in outer regional areas, 77.5% of children in remote areas and 88% in very remote areas.

Public schools have always done the heavy lifting and, as a consequence have the greatest need for additional resources.

"How can Scott Morrison think this latest funding model is fair to the majority of Australian children who attend public schools given they won’t receive a single dollar of additional funding?"

Mr Mulheron said public school teachers and parents know schools funding is a major election issue and we are determined to fight this every day right up until the next election.

"Our ‘Fair Funding Now’ campaign will be making sure voters in every marginal seat knows what Scott Morrison thinks about public school funding and how this deal will impact on the education of their children."

MEAA – Save ABC Campaign

Just a quick note to say well done in taking quick action this week to contact crossbench Senators to urge them to vote No on the forthcoming ABC legislation.

The spotlight on social media in particular led to all four Senators – Stirling Griff, Tim Storer, Rex Patrick and Derryn Hinch – publicly declaring they would oppose all three Bills.

The government subsequently withdrew the Bills from the order of business in the Senate yesterday – although there is little doubt they will return to the Chamber at some stage.

But with Labor and the Greens both expected to vote No also, there should be enough opposition to prevent the three Bills being passed.

It’s good to know that we have these four crossbench Senators on our side as the ABC is facing threats from multiple directions, including massive funding cuts and political attacks.

We need to be eternally vigilent and to remind politicians of all stripes that the ABC doesn’t belong to them, it belongs to us, the Australian people. Hands off our ABC!

 Stay in touch with this campaign on our website, or on Facebook.

 Authorised by Paul Murphy, Chief Executive, Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Rebels' Song (1936) Then as Now

The Rebels' Song (1936)

Dispossessions threaten; mark the ungloved hand.
Politicians waltzing to the financial band.
Justice overridden ; scorned the trusty plough ;
South-West farmers muster ; prove your metal now.

Gather round your, leaders ; let right, not might, control,
For liberty and justice, come, every man enrol,
Vain has been our pleading, deaf the ear of power ;
Promises misleading served up by the hour.

Gather, round your leaders ! Be fed no more on lies,
Suffer not in serfdom; South-West farmers rise !
Air our, noble effort—all we have at stake;
Repossessions threaten; South-West farmers wake !


This song from the height of the Great Depression illustrates the use of poetry and song in the face of corrupt government and financial institutions in Australia. Today's exposures by the Banking Royal Commission provides the existence of a similar culture, affecting farmers and bank customers alike.   

ACTU helping people share their stories for sexual harassment inquiry

20 September 2018

Australian unions will be making a submission to the Human Rights Commission sexual harassment inquiry and will be assisting people to share their own experiences of sexual harassment and sexual violence, anonymously if they wish.

Today, the ACTU is launching a survey which will allow working people – both members and non-members – to share their experiences. Personal information provided by respondents will be kept strictly confidential. However, workers who wish to share their story with the inquiry (anonymously if preferred) will be assisted to do so.

As with the Banking Royal Commission the ACTU believes that telling the stories of working people is a powerful tool to make those in power understand the scope of the problem and take action.

The Human Rights Commission inquiry into sexual harassment in Australian workplaces will shine much needed light on a broken system which is failing workers.

Everyone should be able to go to work in a safe environment, free of harassment. To get there, we need to keep exposing what’s happening in workplaces.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Many of us have experienced being sexually harassed at work. It’s shocking and hard to deal with.
  • “Everyone should be able to go to work in a safe environment, free of harassment. To achieve this we need to keep exposing what’s happening in workplaces so our lawmakers get the full picture.
  • “If you have personally experienced or witnessed sexual harassment at work, we want to hear from you.
  • “We encourage everyone to submit their story and contribute to the inquiry, which has the potential to initiate real change for all Australians.
  • “Please take the survey and share the link below on social media."

Survey available here:

Faith Bandler and May 1967 Referendum for Aboriginal Rights

On 27 May, 1967, after years of campaigning, a referendum was held to change the Australian constitution. Symbolic of the ongoing struggle for justice, this campaign drew attention to the legislative and social limitations placed on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

ACTU – Working people welcome super changes, call for immediate implementation

19 September 2018

The peak body for working people has welcomed the announcement that a Shorten Labor Government will pay super on every dollar women earn, including on paid parental leave, as a move to close the 47 percent gender superannuation gap.

The announcement by the Federal ALP will see the super guarantee paid on government-funded paid parental leave – a measure recommended by the ACTU’s Change the Rules for Working Women report last week and the ASU/Per Capita report Not So Super for Women last year.

The plan stands in stark contrast to the Abbott/Turnbull/Morrison Government’s near-total inaction on the gender superannuation gap, which sees many women face retirement into poverty.

The ACTU called however for an immediate abolition, rather than the incremental phase-out, of the $450-a-month threshold for superannuation payments. Currently people who earn less than $450 a month don’t receive super on those earnings. This disproportionately affects women.

The fact that under the Labor Plan this won’t be fully phased in until 2024 means employers may cut the hours of people in already precarious circumstances to avoid paying superannuation for the next five years.

 Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Everyone working in Australia should have a dignified retirement.”  
  • “Under our current rules, women face retiring into poverty.
  • “Today’s announcement is an important first step to closing the 47 percent superannuation gap for women.  
  • “It’s vital that super be paid on parental leave, and we welcome the ALP’s announcement. 
  • “However, to ensure working women don’t retire in poverty, the $450-per-month threshold needs to be abolished immediately.  Every year this reform is phased in, means another year where women are not paid superannuation on every dollar they are working hard for.
  • “We will continue to campaign for additional measures that will close the super gap and delivery justice and equity for working women in Australia. “

Monday, September 17, 2018

J. K. McDOUGALL. My Songs (1935) Then as now

My Songs (1935)

My songs are for the masses, for the poor and trodden down,
For the sweated slaves on land and sea and toilers of the town ;
For the drudges who are plundered for the drones and Christless rich.
The mothers in the hovel and the children of the ditch.

My songs are for the driven mobs that profiteers control.
The men who delve and quarry and the drifters on the dole :
For the artisans that, fettered, toil in soulless industries.
The millions who by Famine's whip, are beaten to their knees.

My songs are for the fathers who have struggled long and hard,
On the battlefields of Poverty, for little real reward ;
For the martyrs of the people, who on Mammon's altars bleed,
For the heroes of the working-class—the dauntless rebel breed.

My songs are for the soldiers who have fought in endless wars,
To win for Greed his royalties and bloat the despot, Mars ;
For the patriots, unpitied, who have given up their lives,
For their sons enslaved and murdered, and their daughters and their wives.

My songs are for the future and a day that is to be,
When Justice shall with triumph crown the dreams of Liberty;
When the earth and all its beauty to the people shall belong.
And Right shall reign, where ranted once, the wicked priests of Wrong.

My songs are for the rebels that in other years will come.
With the crimson flag of brotherhood and freedom-calling drum ;
For I hate the mad dictators who like bloody beasts of prey.
Have filled the world with broken hearts, with ruin and decay.


A song from the Great Depression

AMWU Statement on Labor's position on the TPP

“It beggars belief that the Labor caucus would sign off on ratifying the TTP given it’s against the party’s own policy,” said AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian.

 “The TPP-11 is a disaster for Australian workers.

“The labour mobility provisions would give open access to 6 signatory countries without labour market testing. This has the potential to see huge pressures on our labour market, further downward pressure on wages and conditions, and foreign workers exploited.

“In addition, the ISDS provisions are of great concern. The ability of a multinational corporation to sue a Government is a grave risk to sovereignty.

“It is clear that Labor knows these are issues – they admit as such, and note that any future trade deals would require labour market testing and a rejection of investor state dispute settlement provisions. 

“If these issues are crucial for any future trade deals – why not for the TPP?

“The TPP must be amended before it is ratified by Parliament.”

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Wentworth by-election: Kerryn Phelps confirmed as high-profile independent candidate

Professor Phelps, a prominent same-sex marriage campaigner and former AMA president, has confirmed she is running as an independent candidate in the Wentworth by-election.

She said the "revolving door of leadership" in Canberra over the past decade has weakened the standing of politicians and the major parties.

"I've had hundreds of people in Wentworth contact me in the past few weeks to express their anger and frustration over the sacking of Malcolm Turnbull," said Ms Phelps, who is looming as a wildcard in the October 20 vote.

"The new Prime Minister Scott Morrison either cannot or will not explain why Malcolm Turnbull has been replaced.

"What we need to see is some integrity and some stability returned to the Australian Federal Parliament."

Prof Phelps said she would push for action on climate change and energy policy, with "a fast-tracking to renewables".

She said she wanted to see a stronger economy "but we must have a heart", calling for more humane treatment of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru.

Prof Phelps played a key role in the same-sex marriage campaign last year and said her track record as a doctor, health communicator and advocate made for an appropriate skill set for Federal Parliament.

She expected the major parties to "throw big money and serious resources" at the electorate, but will be relying on donations from the community.

Wentworth — a federation electorate — has never been won by Labor. The Liberals hold it on a 17.7 per cent margin.

However, Prof Phelps' high profile could woo the eastern suburbs set, some of whom are annoyed at the Government for rolling their local member as prime minister.

Labor candidate Tim Murray, the Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club president, has already been campaigning while the Greens pick is Waverly deputy mayor Dominic Wy Kanak.

ACTU – Victory after a 10-year battle against broken rules for pathology workers in Victoria

14 September 2018

Thousands of people working in Dorevitch Pathology collection centres across Victoria have won a decade-long battle for a fair pay rise.

The workers handling vital sample collections for life-saving diagnostics were awarded a pay rise of up to 20 percent with an increase of up to 30 percent on allowances, backpaid to July last year.

Prior to the decision many of the workers had not had a meaningful increase to their pay in more than a decade, effectively being forced to pay 2018 prices with 2007 pay packets.

After Dorevitch management locked out workers during a heavy flu season, delaying diagnostic testing, the Fair Work Commission terminated the action out of concern for community welfare.

Today the Commission decided in favour of the workers, delivering justice long after it was due.

 Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Today’s decision is a long-awaited victory for Health Workers Union members at Dorevitch who have been forced to wait far too long for a pay rise that keeps pace with the cost of living.
  • “The fact that a company can simply refuse to meaningfully raise wages for more than a decade under our broken rules is disgraceful.
  • “People who work at Dorevitch collection centres have been struggling to keep on top of the cost of living, trying to pay 2018 bills with 2007 pay packets.
  • “I congratulate every one of them on standing firm and fighting for justice.
  • “The Dorevitch workers’ struggle shows that we need to change the rules so that people can get fair pay rises that let them stay on top of the cost of living.”

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Community demands guarantee Bega TAFE is not for sale September 13, 2018

Community demands guarantee Bega TAFE is not for sale September 13, 2018

A community meeting has demanded a guarantee from the Berejiklian Government that the Bega TAFE College will not be sold.

The meeting on 23 August, held outside the TAFE College on Barrack St, Bega, called on the Premier, local MP Andrew Constance and Minister for TAFE Adam Marshall to guarantee the Bega TAFE College will not be sold after the construction of the Bega Connected Learning Centre (CLC).

CLCs are designed to provide students with access to online and digital TAFE courses in regional and rural towns.

The Bega CLC is under construction on the old Bega hospital site. A number of CLC buildings have been constructed in rural and regional NSW including Glen Innes, Quirindi, Coonabarabran, Tenterfield, Corowa, and Deniliquin. The Dapto CLC was renamed an Access Centre after public criticism of its lack of facilities, including a public toilet.

Mr Marshall was quoted in the Bega News in early August as saying: “When questioned if the existing campus would close down in stage two of the plans, he said it was ‘most likely’, although it was yet to be determined.”

Mr Constance was reported in the local paper on 23 August as saying: “There are no plans to close the existing buildings at the TAFE campus.”

The contradiction between the Minister and the Member for Bega and the inability to guarantee that the TAFE college will not be sold, has led to anxiety for students, teachers and support staff at Bega TAFE.

The plan to build a CLC at Bega appears to be rushed and ill planned. Members have reported to Federation that no local TAFE teachers have been consulted in the design and location of the Bega CLC.

Members in other CLC locations have reported that where the CLC is located in the existing TAFE college, students and teachers can access other support services such as libraries, student counselling and amenities.

TAFE members have experienced the disaster of the Berejiklian Government’s Smart and Skilled policy and funding cuts. Federation will support a campaign to ensure that Bega TAFE students continue to have access to high-quality vocational education.

Rob Long, TAFE Organiser

Australia is helping combat polio and other diseases in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Australia is helping combat polio and other diseases in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

In the wake of low immunisation rates, PNG has had a surge in preventable diseases such as polio, measles and whooping cough. The Australian government is providing $10 million in support to PNG government’s major vaccination campaign in the hope of avoiding future outbreaks.

The PNG government has declared the recent polio virus outbreak a national public health emergency.

As of last week, Papua New Guinea confirmed a total of 10 polio cases: three in Morobe, two in Eastern Highlands, two in Enga, two in Madang and one in the National Capital District.

“This is very concerning- every new case of polio isn’t just a statistic. Each represents a child that will be permanently paralysed,” said Pasco Kase, PNG’s Secretary of the National Department of Health (NDOH). “In response to this recent case in Port Moresby, the NDOH and partners will start an emergency polio vaccination campaign in September in the National Capital District. A nationwide polio campaign will commence in October.”

Prior to the outbreak the country’s last case of polio occurred in 1996 and the country was declared polio free in 2000, along with the rest of the Pacific region.

The Australian High Commission in Port Moresby is working closely with the PNG government, the World Health Organization and UNICEF to monitor the current polio outbreak and provide response measures including contract tracing, testing as well as vaccination.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Acoss – Getting a job on Newstart is harder than you think

A majority of people on Newstart are being systematically excluded from paid employment, a new report has found.

Today ACOSS and Jobs Australia are releasing the first in a series of reports on unemployment to highlight the enormous challenges hundreds of thousands of people face in finding decent paid work or more hours in Australia. Faces of Unemployment brings together information and analysis on who is unemployed, people receiving Newstart Allowance, job vacancies, and changes in the labour market affecting unemployed people.

Launching the report, Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of ACOSS said: “There has been a disturbing growth in long-term unemployment, with almost two thirds (64%) of people on Newstart allowance receiving it for one year or more. This is the result of serious and long-standing policy failure.

“There is a growing mismatch between people’s skills and what employers need, discrimination, including against older workers, and a lack of investment by governments in quality employment services.

“A majority of people on Newstart are being systematically excluded from paid employment.”

“Faces of Unemployment profiles for the first time the people who have received Newstart and Youth Allowance for more than a year, finding that:

  • 44% of those unemployed long-term were on these payments for over 2 years and 15% for over 5 years
  • 49% of long-term recipients were over 45 years old
  • 29% had a disability
  • 11% were of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander background
  • 16% were principal carers of children, including sole parents, and
  • 21% were of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“Many of these people have been diverted to Newstart Allowance from pension payments such as the Disability Support Pension (DSP) or Parenting Payment and they are not getting the help they need to secure paid employment,” said Dr Goldie.

Launching the report, Peter Defteros from Jobs Australia said: “This new report is an investment by Jobs Australia and ACOSS in raising awareness and understanding of unemployment in Australia.

“We know that the longer people are unemployed, the more paid prospects diminish. However, this report goes beyond just these headline statistics of Australia’s unemployment to truly understand Australia’s unemployed – who are they, why they are unemployed and what help is available to them.

“The real faces behind this report are everyday Australians who are motivated to find employment, but who are systematically disadvantaged and are not appropriately supported to get the help they really need.

“This report should be used by government to inform future development of programs and encourage appropriate investment in employment services to truly help unemployed Australians get and keep work,” said Mr Defteros.

Dr Goldie says “The government’s ongoing employment services review is welcome, especially its emphasis on solutions to long-term unemployment, but as long as Australia spends less than half the OECD average on employment assistance, those solutions will be hard to find.”

“Some people think a person who is unemployed can just walk into a job. Our evidence shows this perception is simply incorrect.

“There is only one job available for every 8 applicants who are unemployed or under-employed.[i] It is clear the labour market in Australia is very tough for a person looking for paid work or more hours.

“Things are even tougher for people who are unemployed, who are mainly searching for jobs at the lower-skilled end of the labour market.  Most (62%) of the jobs they obtained in 2016-17 were part-time and 38% were casual, which leaves many people cycling on and off income support.

“People relying on the unemployment benefit Newstart, at less than $40 per day, are choosing between meals and bills, transport and pills. It is near impossible to look for work if you’re homeless and hungry,” says Dr Goldie.

ACOSS and Jobs Australia urge political leaders to read Faces of Unemployment, to fix the serious shortage of employment options and lack of quality employment assistance for people who are unemployed long-term, and to ensure we have a safety net that supports, rather than punishes, people.

Australian Council of Social Service, 0419 626 155
Jobs Australia, 03 9349 3699

[i] The actual figure is likely much higher, once taking into account competition with people who are already employed, and also education leavers and new migrants (latest estimate was an average of 14 people for every job). It is even tougher if you are trying to get an entry-level job. For example, in 2015, the Department of Jobs estimated that there were 43 applicants for every entry-level job in retail, hospitality and construction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

ACTU – We must change the rules so work is fair for women

10 September 2018

The peak body for working people has called on politicians to institute deep structural reform of Australia’s workplace relations rules to make them fair for women, including overhauling paid parental leave and removing restrictions on bargaining.

A new report by research consultant Dr Nicole Bluett-Boyd, commissioned by the ACTU, lays out a comprehensive series of recommendations for reform that will address the structural bias against women in our current workplace laws.

They include:

  • The abolition of the concept of “primary” and “secondary” carers, to be replaced by 26 weeks’ parental leave that a family can decide to use however they want
  • The removal of restriction in the bargaining system that prevent women earning a fair wage. Women must be able to collectively bargain.
  • Removing restrictions on bargaining so women can negotiate with someone who has the capacity to say yes to a fair pay rise
  • The payment of superannuation on every dollar that women earn, including on paid parental leave
  • Stronger powers for the Fair Work Commission to proactively tackle gender inequality, including establishing a new expert Gender Equality Panel, giving the Commission the power to hear and determine sexual harassment and sex discrimination claims, and implementing stronger pay equity provisions
  • The right for employees with parenting and career responsibilities to receive – not merely request – family friendly working hours
  • The provision of ten days paid family and domestic violence leave
  • The restoration and protections of penalty rates
  • A proper definition of casual work

Women are more likely to be working casually than men, and are far more likely to be award-dependent, and therefore vulnerable to cuts to penalty rates.

Across society women are paid 14.6 percent less than men and they retire with 43 percent less superannuation.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

  • “Working women power this country, through both paid and unpaid labour.
  • “Our workplace rules and structures let women down. Women face an unfair, uphill battle at every turn. Women are paid 14.6 percent less than men, and are retiring with less, often in poverty.
  • “We are fighting to change the rules to make work fair for women. This research sets out a clear path we must take.  We must fix bargaining so that women are negotiating with real decision makers who have the capacity to say yes to fair pay rises.
  • “It’s up to our leaders to show the courage and strength required to make work fair for women.” 

Morrison and his Muppets Mob

Cathy Wilcox 

Monday, September 10, 2018

CFMMEU – Clark Cranes accident

A man has died, another is fighting for his life and a third has been injured in an industrial accident on the corner of Watts Street and Whitehorse Road in Box Hill.

The crane is owned by Clarke Cranes, the same company that was responsible for the incident in Richmond last month that required people be evacuated from their homes.

At around 12:20pm the concrete kibble (bucket) on the crane fell on the men after the lifting equipment failed. The kibble landed in a pit where the workers were standing.

Senior MICA Paramedic Gary Robertson confirmed one construction worker had died and another worker, who was pulled from the construction site, suffered multiple fractures and “extensive trauma. He is now fighting for his life in The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

This year seven construction workers have been killed at work in Victoria.

"Absolute tragic scenes on the construction site in Box Hill after a concrete kibble fell on several workers. Unconfirmed reports coming through of 1 fatality, another critical. Our thoughts are with all involved." - John Setka

Labor – NSW Liberals suffered a huge 30% swing

Yesterday in the Wagga Wagga by-election, the NSW Liberals suffered a huge 30% swing against them on primary votes.

Ms. Berejiklian and the Liberals have lost Wagga for the first time in 61 years.

This is the third biggest swing against a Government in NSW by-election history.

The by-election was held following revelations in ICAC relating to property developers, forcing Liberal Member for Wagga, Daryl Maguire to resign.

While counting continues in Wagga, it is very clear that the arrogant policies of the Liberals have been emphatically rejected.

❌ The Sydney stadium splurge,
❌ Cost blowouts and mismanagement on infrastructure projects,
❌ The gutting of TAFE and unemployment,
❌ The growing cost of living, including electricity and gas bills,
❌ The privatisation of hospitals and soaring hospital waiting lists,
❌ Forced council mergers,
❌ Overcrowding and underfunding our schools, and
❌ Falling academic standards.

Now, we need your help more than ever as we head into the 2019 NSW State Election and upcoming Federal Election.

Will you help by donating to our election fighting fund?

Under the Liberals and Nationals, the people of NSW continue to be taken for granted.

Help us send the Liberals and Nationals a message, that the people of NSW won't be taking for granted any longer.

Yours sincerely

Kaila Murnain

Saturday, September 08, 2018

ACTU – O’Dwyer joins business in attack on leave rights

O’Dwyer joins business in attack on leave rights

New Industrial Relations Minister Kelly O’Dwyer has continued her predecessor’s intervention in a major court case, supporting a multi-national employer trying to cut the number of the personal and carer’s leave days of people working shifts from 10 to eight.

 The decision in the case could affect millions of people working shifts throughout the country and funnel hundreds of millions of dollars of working people’s leave allowances into the pockets of big business owners.

 Minister O’Dwyer is siding with multinational food giant Mondelez in a Federal Court case that concerns the leave rights of people working at the Cadbury factor in Tasmania who work shifts longer than 9.6 hours. The case has the capacity to affect millions of people working shifts in Australia.

 The Fair Work Act specifies that people should receive 10 days personal and carers leave. But Mondelez and O’Dwyer will argue that that for those on 12-hour shifts should only get eight paid absences for personal or carers leave. The workers are being represented by their union, the AMWU.

 The Minister and the company will argue that an existing precedent from a Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission, supported by the Federal Court, is wrong.

 The case is expected to be heard by the full Federal Court.

 Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • “One of Kelly O’Dwyer’s first acts as Industrial Relations Minister has been to support a multi-national company’s attack on workers’ rights that could see millions of people working shifts have their personal and carers’ leave entitlements drastically cut.”
  • “Whether it is cutting penalty rates, keeping wage growth at record lows or undermining basic rights like sick leave and carers’ leave this government knows only one way – back in the big end of town.
  • “When the Fair Work Act says 10 days personal leave, it means 10 days. But Kelly O’Dwyer is spending taxpayers’ money to back big business and undermine workers’ interests.”

Saturday, September 01, 2018

ACTU – Equal pay day a reminder of the persistent gender pay gap

31 August 2018

Statement from ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

Today is Equal Pay Day, the day which marks the end of the 62 additional days women workers need to work after the end of the financial year to earn as much as men in Australia.

It’s a stark reminder of the work which still needs to be done to close the gender pay gap.

Unions have always been at the forefront of fight for equal pay. Our current campaigns for 10 days paid Family and Domestic Violence Leave, flexible work arrangements for people with caring responsibilities, casual conversion, expanded parental leave, and changes to superannuation including paying super to people who are on parental leave are all targeted to close the gender pay gap.

The gender pay gap exists because we have workplace rules and a culture which values work traditionally done by women less than that done by men, and structures which make it hard for women to stay in work while dealing with the caring responsibilities that our society continues to expect them to shoulder.

We can and must do more to close the gender pay gap, and change the rules for working women.

Fix Bargaining For Better Pay: IMF

31 August 2018

Research by the International Monetary Fund has revealed that the erosion of people’s rights in the workplace has led to less pay for workers.

The International Monetary Fund research that shows that measures that have taken power away from working people in favour of big business have hurt take-home pay packets between 1970 and 2015.

It is the first time that the IMF has acknowledged the effect of policies that take rights from working people on pay and wages.

Research released last month by the Centre For Future Work revealed that the erosion of rights for working people and the resulting power imbalance with big business is costing working people in Australia more than $16,000 each.

The Centre For Future Work revealed that that the decline of the labour share of GDP since 1975 is costing every working Australian $16,800 per year on average.

Trend could be reversed by restoring the rights of working people and allowing multi-employer bargaining, where people can negotiate fair pay and more secure jobs across more than one employer.

Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

  • “When big business undermines workers’ rights and governments give even more power to big business, to the system becomes unbalanced and workers’ pay goes down.
  • “The cost of that power imbalance to someone working full-time in Australia is about $16,000 a year.
  • “With electricity prices, housing, childcare, transport and health insurance premiums rising much faster than pay, working people need every cent of that $16,000 a year.
  • “We need to change the rules so that working people get our fair share of the wealth we produce. Right now big business has too much power and corporate bosses and wealthy shareholders are taking more for themselves and leaving us struggling.
  • “But there are clear solutions to restore the balance. We need to adopt the bargaining system that operates across most of the developed world.
  • “Working people need the ability to negotiate across sectors and industries and win the pay rises they need.”