Jim McIlroy

Corporate CEO salaries have hit record high levels over the past year, according to the latest CEO pay report from the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). The report shows that pay for company bosses has reached its highest level for 17 years thanks to "persistent and increasing bonus payments".

The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) launched its "Give 'Em the Boot" campaign, aimed at ending Australia's Force Posture Agreement with the US and sending US Marines based in Darwin back home, at a "Keep Australia out of US wars" public meeting on July 17.

Several hundred people gathered in the historic Thompson Square, in the town of Windsor, north-west of Sydney on July 22 to demand a royal commission into transport infrastructure and planning in NSW.

The rally was organised by CAWB (Community Action for Windsor Bridge) — Save Windsor from the RTA (Roads and Transport Authority). CAWB is a grassroots organisation that has been fighting for five years against NSW government plans to demolish the historic Windsor Bridge for a major arterial road, which will also destroy historic Thompson Square, the oldest square in Australia.

“We call on the federal government to scrap the [NewStart Allowance] ‘demerit points plan’ and stop demonising the unemployed,” NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon told a public forum at UnionsNSW on July 4.

The forum was hosted by the national and Western Sydney branches of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU). The AUWU is conducting a nationwide campaign, called “Dump Your Demerit Points”, to educate members on how to fight back against this punitive system.

 

A "Fix NSW Transport" lantern walk will be held on August 11, beginning at Town Hall and proceeding through city streets, to highlight community opposition to tollways, especially WestConnex, and the crisis of public transport in the state.

Initial endorsements included activist groups No Westconnex: Public Transport Not Motorways; EcoTransit; Friends of Erskineville; Keep Sydney Beautiful; Rail Tram and Bus Union; Netwown Residents Against WestConnex, National Tertiary Education Union; Restore Inner West Line; and Westconnex Action Group.

The latest round of penalty rate cuts, which reduce weekend and public holiday penalty rates for staff in the retail, hospitality and pharmacy sectors by 10–15% from July 1, is estimated by the ACTU to affect 700,000 workers.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association national secretary Gerard Dwyer said the penalty rate cuts would cost many retail and fast food workers between $2000 and $6000 a year.

"The refugee crisis is a union issue, as well as a social justice issue," Australian Services Union (ASU) NSW and ACT deputy secretary Judith Wright told about 100 people on June 27 at the "Change the Rules for Refugees" forum organised by Unions for Refugees.

"The ASU has members in support services for refugees. They see first-hand the results of the oppression and violence suffered by asylum seekers," she said.

The federal Coalition government's so-called "tax reform" package is, overall, a major escalation of the capitalist class war by the rich against the poor and working people.

The initial tranche of income tax measures will reduce tax by a very modest amount for low-income taxpayers, but the long-term effect of the package is to massively reduce tax on the wealthy and attack the elements of a progressive taxation system established in this country over many years.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has welcomed as a “victory for common sense” a Federal Court decision on June 21 to reject massive fines sought by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) over the Hutchison Ports dispute three years ago.

On August 6, 2015, Hutchison Ports Australia sacked 100 workers at its Port Botany terminal by text message the day before many were due to go on shift. The company then placed guards on the gates and workers were not even allowed to clear out their lockers.

A new round has been launched in the ongoing struggle over the protection of workers' rights to their lifetime savings in Australia's $2.6 trillion superannuation industry.

The Productivity Commission's latest report into Australia's $2.6 trillion, scandal plagued, superannuation industry has called for a number of reforms. While noting a number of serious problems with the current system, its proposals to tackle them are just as flawed and still put workers' earnings at the mercy of the market.

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