Blind Workers’ Union fights factory closures

Phoebe Kelloway "Vision Australia – keep manual labour!”, chanted protesters at the hundred-strong Blind Workers’ Union demonstration in Melbourne on Sunday, 15 September. Blind and vision-impaired workers and their supporters formed a chain of white canes that stretched the entire length of Vision Australia’s Kensington headquarters. They were protesting the charity’s plans to shut down VA Enterprises (VAE). At stake are...CONTINUE READING

Australian companies dodge textile agreement

Kim Doyle “Just take a moment to think about it, because this was an entirely preventable industrial murder.” Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia national secretary Michele O’Neil opens with this reminder about the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh. She’s speaking to a Melbourne Socialist Alternative meeting on 12 September about the complicity of Australian companies in Bangladesh sweatshop lab...CONTINUE READING

Growing support for BDS campaigners

Kim Bullimore Since its launch in 2005, the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel has gone from strength to strength. There have also been increased attempts by opponents to undermine the right of pro-Palestine activists to free speech and freedom of assembly. Utilising “lawfare” tactics, the Israeli government and its supporters have sought to exploit the legal system in order to ce...CONTINUE READING

Protesters target fashion festival

Ruby Healer Models walked down the runway to chants of “Target – blood on your hands!” at Melbourne’s Spring Fashion festival on Saturday 7 September. Red handprints covered the marquee as protestors smeared Target’s catwalk event with paint symbolising the blood of Bangladeshi garment workers. Days earlier, the New York fashion week launch of Nautica’s spring collection was also disrupted by picketers. Activists are a...CONTINUE READING

WA teachers issue ultimatum

Nick Everett A rally of teachers, education assistants and school support staff has demanded that the West Australian Liberal government reverse a $280 million budget cut to state school funding or face industrial action. On 20 August, state education minister Peter Collier announced that 150 support staff would go, along with 150 education assistants and 200 staff in the Education Department’s central and regional offi...CONTINUE READING

Casual workers kick back

Simon Barrett Late last semester, Melbourne University management kicked some extra labour onto casual tutors in the Faculty of Arts. They didn’t expect tutors to kick back. In a series of meetings called by the National Tertiary Education Union, casual tutors in the faculty discussed their exploitative working conditions and began organising. Following a wider call, the Melbourne University Casuals Network met for the f...CONTINUE READING

Clash on the coalfields

Steph Price “In Collinsville when the fire siren goes off, the hair on the back of your neck stands up; you can be standing in the shopping centre with everyone standing frozen. Immediately your mind goes to where and if your loved ones, mates and family are working that day.” – Donna Bulloch, president, Mining Communities United. Collinsville, in Queensland’s Bowen Basin, is a coal mining town. Locals say that most fa...CONTINUE READING

Immigration dept fails Egyptian sailors

Marg Perrott Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) officials are furious at the Department of Immigration’s revocation of the visas of 11 striking seamen from the Egyptian coal carrier Wadi Alkarm, currently docked in Port Kembla. Maritime visas are guaranteed under international law, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). The seamen had gone on strike to protest a policy of no access to food be...CONTINUE READING

Abattoir workers challenge non-union agreement

Liam Kay At the Teys Australia abattoir in Beenleigh, Queensland, workers have not had a pay rise since November 2011. Teys is one of the largest meat processors in the country. Its Beenleigh production workforce of some 730 is represented by the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union. With around 90 percent density at the site, AMIEU members have a proud history of maintaining conditions and winning wage increa...CONTINUE READING