The price of militant unionism

Jerome Small It was one of the most powerful union actions this country had seen in years. For two weeks in late August 2012, thousands of construction workers, members of the CFMEU, blockaded the Myer Emporium site in Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. We were protesting for the right to have union-appointed...CONTINUE READING

When we fought Hanson

Jerome Small There was a serious problem in late 1996. All of a sudden, friends of mine were being told by total strangers to “go back where you come from”. People I knew were, for the first time in their lives, being abused on a Melbourne street for speaking a language other than English. Earlier that...CONTINUE READING

Making a killing: Rana Plaza and the global garment industry

Jerome Small The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building is the bloodiest disaster in the history of the garment industry. Socialist Alternative’s industrial organiser Jerome Small visited the scene, just outside Dhaka in Bangladesh, late last year. ---------- Early November, 2014. It’s my first da...CONTINUE READING

Poisoned for profit

Jerome Small People poisoned on an industrial scale. On the evidence available, there are dozens of people dead. So far, the authorities haven’t bothered to count. Welcome to the Latrobe Valley, just an hour or two’s drive from Melbourne. These are the working class communities that for decades have du...CONTINUE READING

Murder not tragedy

Jerome Small “They haunt me, as do hundreds of others, they whisper in my ear, ‘we are not numbers, we are not cheap labour’.” Murder Not Tragedy is a photo exhibition documenting the bloodiest disaster in the history of the global garment industry. On 23 April, 2013, giant cracks opened up in the eigh...CONTINUE READING

In memory of Peter Close

Jerome Small We gathered in West Melbourne on 2 March, at the Maritime Union of Australia hall, to celebrate the life of Peter Close. There was Roger Wilson, Peter’s long-time comrade in the Seamen’s Union of Australia. The SUA was famous around the world for banning South African shipping. If a ship p...CONTINUE READING

All out for union rallies on 4 March

Jerome Small It’s long overdue. On Wednesday, 4 March, we have a chance to use our most powerful weapon. Around the country, organised workers will be marching against the Liberals’ attacks – past, present and future. Attacks on our health care, our education, our social welfare and our rights at work....CONTINUE READING

On the picket line

Jerome Small It always amazes me what you can learn, sitting on some rickety chairs on a suburban street in Melbourne. Inside the factory, workers are well into their second day of the occupation at International Flavours and Fragrances. Outside, a shifting dozen or two people – workers, family, union...CONTINUE READING

Workers occupy Melbourne factory

Jerome Small In a dramatic move, 25 workers have occupied their Melbourne factory in protest against being locked out by their employer during enterprise bargaining. A pre-dawn meeting of the workers, members of the National Union of Workers, voted to occupy the International Flavors and Fragrances fac...CONTINUE READING