‘Parasite’ Serco to run Centrelink call centre

Liz Ross A company that has already brought misery to hundreds of thousands, including refugees and mainland prisoners, is now being given the keys to Australia’s social welfare system. The federal government has announced that some of Centrelink’s call centre functions will be outsourced to Serco....CONTINUE READING

Between a ROC and a desperate government

Liz Ross Suddenly, newsfeeds were full of clips of federal police marching into union offices in Melbourne and Sydney. In the full glare of the media – tipped off by a staffer in employment minister Michaelia Cash’s office – the police re-emerged with computers and boxes of files. It was, as labour...CONTINUE READING

Are the robots coming for your job?

Liz Ross When Henry Ford showed Walter Reuther, the veteran leader of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) union, around a newly automated car plant, he reportedly asked, “Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues?” “Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars?”,...CONTINUE READING

‘Ensuring Integrity’ bill is a serious attack on union democracy

Liz Ross “One of the most ambitious industrial relations agendas that the country has ever seen”, boasted employment minister Michaelia Cash about the latest round of government-driven class warfare. The latest changes – set out in the ideologically named Ensuring Integrity bill – are intended to b...CONTINUE READING

When even the scientists are marching

Liz Ross Brandishing pieces of coal during parliamentary sessions passes for evidence these days, according to climate change sceptics. In this age of alternative facts, filing lawsuits against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the denial of human agency in global warming are key qua...CONTINUE READING

The Registered Organisations Commission is bad news for union members

Liz Ross Dirty deals done dirt cheap – that’s how the Coalition got the Registered Organisations Commission and Australian Building and Construction Commission bills through parliament in the last weeks of November. Predictably, the eight Senate cross-benchers, with whom the unions frequently – and...CONTINUE READING

From gays at work to union pride

Liz Ross From the beginning, LGBTI workers knew that our rights at work not only were worth fighting for, but had to be fought for. From Gay Liberation joining the May Day Committee in 1974 to the Gay Teachers and Students Group’s formation in 1975; from the peak union body’s push for anti-discrimi...CONTINUE READING

Wapping – the bitterest of disputes

Liz Ross The 1980s were brutal years for workers and their unions as the neoliberal wave crossed the world. With it came austerity and an employers’ offensive. Strong unions were among the first targeted. In Australia, it was the Builders Labourers and the Pilots and in the US, the Air Traffic Cont...CONTINUE READING

Lynn Beaton, a fighter for the working class

Liz Ross As we joined the Canto Coro community choir in singing “The Internationale”, fists raised, we farewelled Brunswick-based activist and historian Lynn Beaton. It was a living experience of a saying of Lynn’s favourite musician, Dmitri Shostakovich: “Real music is always revolutionary, for it...CONTINUE READING