Jim McIlroy

More than 1000 electricity workers, employed by Energex, Ergon Energy and Powerlink, marched through the city on May 14 in an escalation of the combined power unions’ campaign for improved pay and conditions from the three state government-owned corporations.

More than 10,000 unionists marched through Brisbane’s streets on May 5, celebrating the union movement’s role in the defeat of the Howard government last year. The annual Labour Day parade was led by the building unions, with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in the lead. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the original building workers\' union in Queensland.

On April 2, the Queensland industrial relations departments’ Workplace Health and Safety agency issued a breach notice against the state government’s Queensland Health (QH) department for providing unsafe accommodation to nurses working on the Torres Strait islands.

A landmark legal case has begun against mining corporation Xstrata over claims that it “wilfully and negligently” caused toxic contamination of large parts of the north-western Queensland city of Mount Isa over decades.

“The union movement can fight back and grow overall in the next period”, Tim Gooden, secretary of the Geelong Trades Hall Council, told Green Left Weekly on April 18. He was responding to reports in the mainstream press highlighting figures indicating a further fall in national union membership last year.

As part of a global day of action in solidarity with Tibetan protesters, 65 actions took place across Australia on March 31.

Members of the Stolen Wages Working Group (SWWG) walked out of a meeting with Queensland Indigenous affairs minister Lindy Nelson-Carr on March 25 when they were told that $21.2 million in promised extra compensation payments would be redirected to

“For a council that won’t cost us the Earth”, was the slogan for the campaign for the Brisbane City Council by David White, a member of the Socialist Alliance. The council held elections on March 15.

“On top of the Israeli and US siege of Gaza and the illegal collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians, in the last two years, 2000 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more wounded”, Kim Bullimore, who spent eight months living in the occupied West Bank, told a public forum at the Communications Electrical and Plumbing Union on March 10. The forum, organised by the International Women’s Day Collective and endorsed by the Stop the War Collective and Fair Go for Palestine, attracted 40 people.

While the Venezuelan government of socialist President Hugo Chavez has made headlines for its battle with ExxonMobil, Venezuela is not the only country under attack by the world’s largest oil corporation for refusing to submit to its dictates.

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