AMWU to launch 'Campaign 2001'
Following the success of the Victorian Australian Manufacturing Workers Union's 'Campaign 2000', the national AMWU is planning to lodge a combined claim on manufacturing employers with the aim of improving job security and creating better paid jobs.
The national AMWU pattern claim demands a minimum pay increase of 6% per year, protection of key industry standards and common expiry dates for enterprise agreements. Included in the claim is a demand for an industry-funded scheme to secure workers' entitlements and ensure that they are portable, a clause in agreements that would secure a 30% pay loading, a minimum of eight hours work per day for casual contract staff, and 12 weeks paid parental leave.
Rallies have been called by the AMWU in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide to demonstrate community support for the campaign.
Progressive PSA make gains
SYDNEY — The Progressive PSA (PPSA), a left-wing grouping of activists within the NSW Public Service Association, made modest gains in the union's recent general elections. PPSA representation on the PSA's 45-member central council has risen from seven to nine. Maureen Frances, the PPSA's candidate for general secretary against incumbent Maurie O'Sullivan, won 24% of the vote.
Although O'Sullivan's "Rank and File" faction retained control of the union, there is significant discontent with his leadership. This is because the PSA leadership has conceded to the NSW Labor government attacks on the state public sector.
Chef workers fight closure
MELBOURNE — Just two weeks after signing an enterprise agreement in September, workers at the Chef factory were notified that the factory would close and their jobs disappear. Chef's owner, Email, has decided to move the factory to South Australia.
Email claims that "consolidation" will create 350 new jobs in South Australia. These "new" jobs are apparently open to the 520 Victorian Chef workers who are prepared to pack up their families and cross the border. A rally in support of the Chef workers will be held on December 10 at 10am at the Chef factory.
Power workers to vote
MELBOURNE — Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union members employed by Yallourn Energy will meet on December 14 to vote on the company's proposed enterprise agreement. Latrobe Valley CFMEU secretary Luke van der Meulen told Green Left Weekly that the agreement should be rejected because it gives the company the right to impose compulsory redundancy, deprives workers of any say over rosters or staffing arrangements and removes any control by workers over the introduction of new technology.
VSU partially repealed
MELBOURNE — The Repeal VSU Bill was passed by Victoria's upper house on November 23. The repeal bill maintained some elements of voluntary student union membership while lifting some restrictions on expenditure. The original VSU legislation was an attempt to destroy student unions by making it difficult for students to join and denying funds to student unions.
Although the Victorian TAFE Students & Apprentices Network argued for total repeal of the VSU legislation, VTSAN president Paul Miller said that the new law "is an improvement on the VSU bill."
Wattyl workers sit-in
SYDNEY — Seven hundred members of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union (LMHU) employed by paint manufacturer Wattyl have staged two rounds of sit-ins across the country as part of the union's Paint 2000 campaign to win company-wide agreements instead of individual site agreements.
On November 22, unionists at the Blacktown site in Sydney responded to Wattyl's attempt to lock them out by sitting-in. Sit-ins occurred in all Wattyl sites around the country except Kilburn in South Australia where a picket line was set up. Industrial action was also taken at the company's 28 retail outlets.
On November 30, Wattyl again locked out workers in NSW, Qld and Victoria, after the company's offer had been rejected. The second lockout is due to end on December 5.