Turnbull to construction workers: drop dead

Jerome Small When 700kg of steel and timber came crashing down, the whole site heard it. Some of us raced around to where the formwork stripping gang was working. A forklift had been holding up a massive, prefabricated formwork table made of steel and plywood. But as the operator lowered the forks, the...CONTINUE READING

Vale comrade Kevin Cook

Jerome Small It’s late July, a Melbourne winter’s day, and I’m sitting down with Davie Thomason. I want to ask him about his old comrade, the legendary working class Aboriginal fighter Kevin Cook. Kevin has died, just a few days before. In the early 1970s, Kevin and Davie were organisers with the Build...CONTINUE READING

MV Portland: Seafarers refuse to set sail on final voyage

Jerome Small Since the middle of November, the crew of the MV Portland have been staging a dramatic protest to defend their jobs, and hard-won wages and conditions, in Australia’s coastal shipping industry. Around 200 unionists and community supporters rallied in support of the crew in the western Vict...CONTINUE READING

Arrest of John Setka and Shaun Reardon an attack on every worker

Jerome Small The arrest of senior construction union officials on charges of blackmail opens a new, and potentially very dangerous, phase of legal assault on our unions. These charges are the most serious attack to come out of the Liberals’anti-union trade union royal commission to date. A successful p...CONTINUE READING

How can we save our unions?

Jerome Small The maths are pretty clear. If we keep losing members at the current rate, the Australian union movement will finish up entirely in late March 2026. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in August of last year 1,747,600 workers in Australia were union members in our main job. B...CONTINUE READING

“It’s our world and we’re taking it back”

Jerome Small More than 200 union activists gathered at Melbourne’s Trades Hall on 17 October for Socialist Alternative’s Union Activism and History Conference. After a successful day, with more than 13 different sessions covering a wide range of topics – from “Deconstructing construction” to “Organisin...CONTINUE READING

Inside a Melbourne warehouse strike

Jerome Small For four extraordinary days, workers at Woolworths’ giant Melbourne Liquor Distribution Centre (MLDC) went on a spontaneous, legally unprotected strike and picket. On the morning of 10 August, with no previous history of industrial action, these workers walked off, sparking solidarity acti...CONTINUE READING

Boat turn-backs and basic solidarity

Jerome Small It’s solidarity 101. An injury to one is an injury to all. Once human rights are trashed for some, the rights of the rest of us tend to follow. This isn’t just some feel good sentiment; it’s historical fact. John Howard’s Liberal government set new lows in gutting refugees’ rights. People...CONTINUE READING

Melbourne Grill'd worker Kahlani Pyrah reinstated

Jerome Small A young worker who was sacked after asking to be paid the legal minimum for hospitality workers, today was reinstated after an interim ruling by the Federal Circuit Court. Kahlani Pyrah, a member of United Voice and Socialist Alternative, was told on 10 July that her employment with burger...CONTINUE READING