Building the union fightback


“Winning Our Rights” is the theme of the December 10-11 Union and Community Summer School, which will be held at Melbourne Trades Hall. The conference will discuss the 30-year-long retreat of the Australian union movement and also victories over that period.

“Winning Our Rights” will feature unionists leading important struggles. They will share their experiences and discuss how to turn the tide.

Attending will be Tom Buckley from New Zealand’s Unite union. Unite has won the rights of restaurant and other retail workers by organising in a heavily casualised industry.

Queensland Electrical Trades Union (ETU) state secretary, Peter Simpson, will discuss union resistance to the Queensland government’s privatisation of QR National and other public assets.

Also speaking will be Margaret Gleeson, the Australian Services Union’s delegate of the year and part of the fight for gender pay equity in the community and services sector.

The conference will feature socialist local councillors Steve Jolly and Sam Wainwright, who have fought for the rights of their communities and the workers of South Yarra and Fremantle councils.

Leaders of bitter and protracted enterprise bargaining (EBA) fights will talk.

John O’Donnell is WA branch organiser of the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union. Telstra management allegedly illegally intercepted the CEPU’s EBA negotiations in 2000.

Susan Price from the National Tertiary Education Union will speak on EBA negotiations at the University of NSW.

Victorian state secretary of the ETU Dean Mighell will discuss his union’s disaffiliation from the ALP and its donation of more than $300,000 to Adam Bandt, now Greens’ MP in Melbourne.

“Winning Our Rights” will combine these experiences with that of union veterans such as Jack Mundey, and working-class historians Humphrey McQueen and Verity Burgmann.

No progressive, left or socialist unionists can afford to miss it. Visit for more information.

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