Pampas Pastry workers in West Footscray have reached day 14 of an indefinite strike for better pay and job security. The majority migrant workforce, who produce a range of baked goods for Helga’s and Bakers Delight, are out in force against Pampas management and parent company Goodman Fielder, which has an annual revenue of $1.1 billion.
Thousands of West Australian nurses went on strike on 25 November, rallying at parliament and in regional cities across the state, including Broome, Karratha and Bunbury. The strike took place in defiance of an Industrial Relations Commission ban and amid hostile media coverage and outrageous attacks by state Labor politicians.
The Australian Nursing Federation will proceed with a ballot of its West Australian members in defiance of an order by the Industrial Relations Commission. If nurses reject the McGowan state Labor government’s below inflation pay offer, they will resume a campaign of industrial action, which was suspended last week.
The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics confirm that real wages are falling at the fastest rate since the Great Depression, possibly even the 1890s, both period of massive unemployment.
“You don’t know what you’ve started!” was one of many warnings shouted at politicians by leaders of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) earlier this month from the public gallery of the Ontario parliament. The MPs had just passed the strike-breaking Bill 28, or Keeping Students in Class Act, which used something called the “notwithstanding clause” to force a contract onto workers while making it illegal for them to take any strike action.
The major employer associations are up in arms about the Albanese government’s proposed new industrial relations laws because they supposedly entrench greater union power. But despite the bosses’ outrage, Labor’s changes will do nothing to boost the wages of the overwhelming majority of workers.