Tim Gooden

Former Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) secretary Tim Gooden reflects on his experiences as a socialist trade union leader and discusses what he could bring to parliament if elected as the Victorian Socialists candidate for the Western Region in the November 24 state elections.

There are very few workers in Australia today who feel confident that they have a job for life, are well paid or have the safest working conditions possible.

That’s why we all welcomed the Australian Council of Trade Union’s (ACTU) Change the Rules campaign. 

It is definitely time to stop the attacks on workers and build a fight back that can win. We need to get rid of legislation that stops unions from organising effectively for their members.

Sources have informed Green Left Weekly that the new CEO of Barwon Health in Victoria is on the warpath and the target appears to be patient services.

Barwon Health incorporates University Hospital Geelong, Geelong’s only public hospital and the only tertiary-level hospital outside of Metropolitan Melbourne. The hospital’s catchment area extends from Werribee to the South Australian border, encompassing more than 350,000 Victorians and up to 500,000 for certain specialised treatments.

Our current industrial laws are anti-worker, anti-union and unjust. A campaign to change them is a must.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions' new Change the Rules campaign is well underway.

In conjunction with a professional advertising and social media strategy, the campaign was launched on April 7, building up to the 12 Days of Action in early May around the May Day rallies. Thousands of people attended these rallies across the country, culminating in 120,000 workers marching in Melbourne on May 9.

It is a basic right of working people to organise collectively through our unions

We own our own labour and should have the right to control our labour by organising collectively through our unions. Workers and our unions should not be prosecuted or penalised for organising our labour.

Our current industrial laws are anti worker, anti union and simply unjust and make it harder for workers to organise to defend our wages, conditions and living standards. 

Workers gathered at Geelong Trades Hall on November 24 to raise funds for Esso maintenance workers in Longford, Victoria, who have been locked out for 170 days. Barbecues sizzled, drinks flowed and Scabby the Rat was inflated, while workers were entertained by the classic rock band, Rock n Roll Exchange.

Esso’s maintenance contractor UGL, which operates maintenance on the gas rigs in Bass Strait, ended the previous employment agreement and offered workers a new agreement with 40% less pay, worse conditions and extended rosters on the platform with no guaranteed shore breaks.

Today, there are 55 workers still camping outside Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) in Melbourne, 16 weeks after they were sacked when their employer lost the maintenance contract for the brewery.

Most of these workers were directly employed by CUB until their jobs were outsourced in 2009. There was a hard fought campaign to keep the positions permanent but, in the end, the workers were forced to settle for contracts with no loss of income or conditions. Supposedly it was a “win/win”.

Allegations made by south Indian Tamil fisherfolk against the recently deposed Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka reveal a trail of death and corruption.

They said 750 fisherfolk have been killed by the Sri Lankan navy since 1983. Eighty-four boats were seized in the past six months alone.

The government is ducking and weaving in the face of combined resistance to its cruel budget.

Employment Minister Eric Abetz admitted to a Senate Estimates hearing on June 26 that the Productivity Commission's review of the Fair Work Act will now be delayed until the second half of this year.

The media say this is to allow the government to devote its energies into getting its budget measures through, and to avoid an all-out campaign by unions to "revive the spectre of Work Choices".

Pages

Subscribe to Tim Gooden