Webb Dock: diary of a dispute

Jerome Small The Melbourne waterfront hasn’t seen a dispute like this for decades. Nineteen days of round the clock picketing. No containers in or out, in defiance of two Supreme Court injunctions. A solidarity strike that shut down most of the waterfront in Melbourne, Australia’s biggest port, for the...CONTINUE READING

Defiance on the Melbourne waterfront

Jerome Small Melbourne’s waterfront came to a virtual standstill on Friday. Cranes were left idle at the country’s largest port as workers walked off their jobs to rally at Webb Dock – the scene of a developing confrontation between a union-busting multinational and the Maritime Union of Australia. Thi...CONTINUE READING

Showdown in the supply chain: Woolworths workers make gains

Jerome Small While much of Australia’s union movement scratches around for a strategy or is forced into desperate defensive battles to hang on to long established conditions, workers in fresh food and in Victorian distribution centres have achieved some significant advances. On Wednesday around 1,600 w...CONTINUE READING

A moment to savour

Jerome Small It was the first or second protest we had in Melbourne, against John Howard's homophobic ban on same sex marriage. There were maybe three or four dozen of us, standing near the statues at the State Library in a thin Melbourne drizzle. “This campaign is going nowhere”, I remember thinking....CONTINUE READING

No easy answers but important discussions at union conference

Jerome Small “So, what can we do to turn things around?” The question was asked in the first session at Socialist Alternative’s annual Union Activism and History Conference, held at Trades Hall in Melbourne on 14 October. More than 230 unionists and socialists spent the day addressing elements of that...CONTINUE READING

A vicious turn in the class struggle

Jerome Small Penalty rates slashed. A renewed attack on the construction unions. Long-established conditions trashed at key industrial sites. And now, courtesy of Fair Work’s decision to scrap the enterprise agreement at Murdoch University, a renewed onslaught on white collar workers in government-owne...CONTINUE READING

Striking weather workers bringing a storm

Jerome Small How disruptive is the industrial action to management? How much industrial power do you actually have? The action we are taking is highly disruptive. We have a good density of members in the key operational areas involved with issuing forecasts and taking real-time observations. As a union...CONTINUE READING

Esso gas dispute: workers on the frontline against boss’ offensive

Jerome Small “We are resolute … I’ve fought for wages and conditions over the 40 years that I’ve been a construction worker. This issue at hand now, there has never been a more important issue than this fight that we are standing for right now.” Mal is a scaffolder-rigger. He has worked in the oil and...CONTINUE READING

Government building code: pressure increases on construction unions

Jerome Small The industrial pressure is increasing in the construction industry. Employers are pushing to amend enterprise agreements so that they comply with the government’s anti-union building code before it comes into full operation on 1 September. As well as national strikes and rallies by buildin...CONTINUE READING