The tools are down but the flame still burns

Steph Price “When the pension was conceived they thought we’d knock off [work] at 65, die at 67 and good riddance. Instead, we’re living until our 80s and 90s, standing on our feet with needs to fulfil and a desire to fight.” – George Zangalis, former president of the ARU (Australian Railways Union) addresses an angry crowd gathered on the steps of Victoria’s Parliament on 10 July. The 200-strong rally was organised by...CONTINUE READING

Workers’ and union reports – issue 4, 24 July 2013

Private aged care cutting corners Lauren Stevenson , Health Services Union member A recent Lateline report revealed the horrors faced by many older people in Australia’s aged care facilities: bed sores, residents left in their own excrement, malnutrition and abuse. Jacinta Collins, the Minister for Ageing, has dismissed the reported cases as aberrations. I’ve worked in both public and private nursing homes...CONTINUE READING

Conference discusses action against education cuts

Sarah Garnham This year’s National Union of Students (NUS) Education Conference (EdCon), held in Adelaide on 10-12 July, took place in the wake of the most successful national student demonstrations in almost a decade. The conference represented an excellent opportunity to talk about the future of the campaign against the government’s $2.3 billion cuts to university funding. In particular, it was a chance to start planni...CONTINUE READING

Public housing tenants hit with ‘bedroom tax’

Dean Maloney The Liberal state government in New South Wales has announced plans to impose a “bedroom tax” on public housing residents, adding $2.2 million to government coffers from the pockets of low income earners. Tenants will be slugged with a weekly charge for “under-occupying” their houses or flats unless they agree to leave their homes and be placed in smaller accommodation. Ned Cutcher, senior policy officer at...CONTINUE READING

Workers’ and union reports – issue 3, 10 July 2013

Warehouse workers gear up for a fight Marcus Harrington , NUW delegate, Woolworths Hume Distribution Centre Fourteen years of struggle have earned workers at the Woolworths Hume Distribution Centre in the northern Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows some of the best wages and conditions in the logistics industry. With the current enterprise agreement set to expire on 1 September, this year presents these worke...CONTINUE READING

‘If I don’t agree I will be deported’

Jerome Small Jessie Cayanan is a welder from the Philippines, on a subclass 457 temporary visa. On Saturday 22 June he was one of several workers to address a meeting of Melbourne’s Filipino community, convened by the Filipino migrant organisation Migrante. Jessie explained that after two months on the job, his boss demanded a pay cut. “They decided to cut my salary from $977 to $450… My payslip [looks] complete at $977...CONTINUE READING

Waterfront set for automation shake-up

Shane Bentley Drastic change is set to hit Sydney’s Port Botany. With the spectre of automation looming over the waterfront, the stevedoring industry will experience a shake-up as radical as the late 1960’s move to containerisation. Asciano, owner of Patrick stevedores, is leading the charge. The company first announced its plans to automate Patrick Port Botany in July 2012. Asciano wants to cull 270 jobs from the workfo...CONTINUE READING

Melbourne wharfies say no to a death sentence

Jerome Small Three workers dead, out of a workforce of 250, in the past 10 years. Some might believe that, in Australia in 2013, a company with a track record like this might think twice about dismissing workers who strictly follow health and safety rules.That’s obviously not the thinking at Qube Logistics in Melbourne, where five workers have been unjustly dismissed in the past four weeks. Formerly known as P&O or POAG...CONTINUE READING

A raw deal for Victorian teachers

Manolya Moustafa After a two-year campaign, the Victorian joint teachers and education support staff EBA has been ratified. The Australian Education Union and the state Liberal government finally reached agreement on 18 April. At first, media coverage repeated the union officials’ false declaration of a huge win, with pay rises of 16-20 percent. Closer inspection revealed not only that the pay rises are mediocre at best (so...CONTINUE READING