The Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association (VAHPA) has begun an industrial campaign with the current pay deal due to finish at the end of the year. There are about 7500 VAHPA members in the public sector. Health professionals include physiotherapists, medical imaging technologists and social workers. The union recently conducted a survey that found 49% of health professionals were considering leaving their current employer and almost 25% were actively seeking work outside the health sector.
Unionists rallied in Melbourne on September 23 to defend penalty rates as employers, such as the Australian Hotels Association, demanded the Fair Work Commission cut weekend penalty rates. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering reducing Sunday penalty rates. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox told 3AW on September 23 that there were concerns about penalty rates because they were a "cost to employment”. “Sundays are not hugely different to any other day, but there still should be a reward for working weekends”, said Willox. “Employers recognise that."
More than 1000 people rallied on September 20 to declare Victoria free of coal seam gas. Sixty-seven communities have already declared themselves gasfield free. Many regional councils across Victoria are also opposed to coal seam gas. The rally vowed to stop unconventional gas drilling, or fracking, from gaining a foothold and demanded the state government ban unconventional gas in Victoria. Drew Hutton, from Lock The Gate Alliance, said: “This is an historic moment. This state is officially going to become a gasfield-free state.
About 100 people rallied outside Australia Post in the CBD on September 9 to protest against job cuts at Australia Post. Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour’s plans to “halve the service and double the price for letters” is before the parliament now. This could see the price of stamps increased to $1. Fahour announced that he had put aside $190 million for redundancies — an indication of how many jobs will go. Australia Post’s revenue has increased by more than $1.5 billion since 2010.
Taxi drivers and operators stopped work in major cities across Australia on September 10 in protest against Uber, which taxi drivers say is running an illegal, unregulated service. In Sydney, hundreds of taxi drivers protested against Uber outside NSW Parliament. NSW Taxi Operators and Drivers Association president Anne Turner told Green Left Weekly: "We are here today to save our livelihoods." In Melbourne, more than 1000 people rallied outside Parliament House, then marched on the Victorian Taxi Services Commission.
Esso has locked out maintenance workers from its oil and gas plants in Victoria and its offshore platforms in Bass Strait. The move is part of an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) dispute with members of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU). Unions had imposed bans on overtime and call-outs as part of their campaign against Esso’s proposed changes to pay and conditions. The lockouts affect the Longford gas plant, Long Island Point and Esso's oil and gas plants in Bass Strait.
Hundreds of people rallied in Melbourne on June 25 to protest against the transfer of a young baby, Asha, to the Nauru detention centre. The rally occurred on the same day as the federal government, with support from the Labor opposition, voted to change the law to keep the prisons on Nauru and Manus Island open to defeat a high court challenge. Pamela Curr from the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said: "We can defeat this criminal policy, but it won't be easy."
On June 21, thousands of people rallied in Melbourne against the Australian government's ongoing cruelty to refugees, especially highlighting abuses against children in detention. Mohammad Ali Baqiri, a refugee who was locked up on Nauru as a child in 2001 said: "Having experienced the horror of Nauru, no one should be locked up there." Vivian Malo and Robert Thorpe from First Nations Liberation condemned the racist government and offered First Nations passports for refugees. A coffin was brought to the rally to symbolise the death of human rights in Australia.
Rammstein. The racist United Patriot Front (UPF) have used German industrial metal band Rammstein in a new video to promote a racist march on July 17. The UPF are a splinter group from a Reclaim Australia that seek to harass Muslims and promote Islamophobia and violence. The video opens with the UPF member declaring “I am not a Nazi”. The UPF video has excluded images from Reclaim Australia rally in April of participants with swastikas.
Cleaners held rallies around Australia on June 15 to celebrate International Justice for Cleaners Day. In Canberra, angry Parliament House cleaners went on strike for the day. At a rally outside Parliament House, they awarded federal treasurer Joe Hockey a giant golden toilet brush. Yahoo news reported: "The cleaners have walked off the job for 24 hours from 6.30am on Monday, protesting a federal government decision to abolish Commonwealth Cleaning Services guidelines.