Truckies protest unsafe conditions as deaths soar

Chris Anderton Hundreds of truck drivers and their supporters protested around Australia on 18 April to demand safer working conditions. With almost 40 percent of all workplace deaths last year involving a transport worker, trucking is one of the deadliest industries in the country. The protests, organis...CONTINUE READING

Victorian delegates meet for Change the Rules campaign

Jerome Small More than 1,600 unionists crammed into Melbourne’s Town Hall on 17 April for an all-union delegates meeting to launch the next phase of the Change the Rules campaign, which will involve street demonstrations around the country in coming weeks. Two hundred delegates couldn’t squeeze into th...CONTINUE READING

Are unions doomed to fail?

Tom Bramble It is often argued that the decline in employment in blue collar work, the closure of big factories, the impact of new technologies and privatisation and the growth of “non-standard” work (casualisation, outsourcing etc.) and job insecurity are responsible for falling unionisation rates be...CONTINUE READING

Building a union culture at work 

NUW delegate It’s no secret that unions aren’t in a good place. Strikes are down, wages are down, and union membership is at an all-time low. Unions are getting older, with the membership rate among 20 to 24 year olds at just 7 percent. The statistics are damning. But if you wandered down to the call c...CONTINUE READING

Striking for their lives: Qube wharfies want an end to dangerous conditions

Oscar Sterner Bound for Singapore, the cargo ship Figaro was scheduled to leave a Melbourne port on 18 March. Instead, a dockworkers’ strike left the 75,000 tonne vehicle carrier stranded; its valuable cargo floating in Port Phillip Bay for days. Ships such as Figaro are responsible for moving 90 percen...CONTINUE READING

Striking Yakult workers win wage rise

Michael Roberts At their factory in South Dandenong, the Yakult workers’ protest was a sight for sore eyes. A solid picket that turns around trucks and stops others from leaving the site is a rare thing in Australia today. The Yakult workers’ strike was protected action, but because of the state of indust...CONTINUE READING

Building a campaign to change the rules

Jerome Small Over the coming weeks, tens of thousands of workers will take to the streets in mass rallies as part of the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ “Change the Rules” campaign. Union delegates meet in Melbourne on 17 April; they are likely to endorse a CBD rally for 9 May. Unions in other citi...CONTINUE READING

Sally McManus and the crisis in the unions

Tom Bramble On her appointment to the position of ACTU secretary 12 months ago, Sally McManus lost no time in making a splash. On the day she stepped into the role, she appeared on the ABC’s 7.30 and told interviewer Leigh Sales, “I believe in the rule of law when the law is right. But when it’s unjus...CONTINUE READING

NTEU endorses proposed Murdoch University agreement, declaring it a ‘win’

Nick Everett A meeting of 200 National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at Murdoch University on 14 March voted overwhelmingly to endorse a new enterprise agreement. The meeting’s vote clears the way for an all-staff ballot beginning on 22 March. However, in a move described as undemocratic by s...CONTINUE READING