Susan Price

Professor Sharon Beder, a research fellow at the University of Wollongong, prepared a submission on behalf of Unions NSW to the Ownen Inquiry that makes a powerful case against Premier Morris Iemma’s government’s proposed energy privatisation.

The proposal by Premier Morris Iemma to privatise electricity generation in NSW has been met with a campaign of opposition from unionists and community activists.

PM John Howard and ALP leader Kevin Rudd have both attacked Unions NSW secretary John Robertson for comments, secretly recorded and leaked to the media, made at a Bennelong Your Rights at Work meeting in late June.

Barry Hemsworth, a Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union member and workplace delegate, was sacked unfairly from his job at Botany Cranes in Sydney’s eastern suburbs in 2006, made possible by the Howard government’s unfair dismissal laws. July 2 will mark the 300th day that Barry has held vigil outside the gates of his former employer with the support of the union movement.

An industrial relations forum on May 8, hosted by the Socialist Alliance, brought together trade union and political activists to discuss their responses to the ALP’s recently released IR policy and the campaign against Work Choices.

It is 20 years since the release of Australia Reconstructed, a policy report that came out of an Australian unionists’ tour of Western Europe in 1986. It is also 25 years since Australia On the Rack was published by the metalworkers’ union (now the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union - AMWU). Back on Track - A Way Forward for Australia is the latest such policy offering.

In this NSW election Morris Iemma and the ALP are posing as big defenders of public services and public sector jobs.

“Comfort women” survivors and their supporters will rally in Sydney on March 7, as part of a global day of action, to protest against the human rights abuses suffered by hundreds of thousands of women during World War II. An estimated 200,000 women in were forced into sexual slavery and continually beaten, tortured and raped by Japanese soldiers during the war.

After comparing data from the Office of the Employment Advocate (OEA) on pre- and post-Work Choices agreements, Professor David Peetz from Griffith University revealed last December that 63% of Australian Workplace Agreements (individual contracts — AWAs) remove workers’ entitlement to penalty rates, with these being “absorbed” into hourly rates of pay. As well, 64% of AWAs remove workers’ annual-leave loading and 54% include no shift loadings.

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