Domino's Pizza workers are missing out on penalty rates worth at least $32 million a year due to an old deal struck between the company and the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA). Under a deal struck in 2009, before the introduction of the national award system, which set minimum standards for the fast-food industry, Domino's need not pay workers penalty rates for late-night or weekend shifts.
Maintenance workers at Griffin Coal and their supporters held a protest outside the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Perth's CBD on July 5. They called for a stay on the commission's decision to terminate the recent enterprise bargaining agreement between the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the company, citing the latter's alleged unprofitability. Griffin Coal claims to be surviving only due to financial support from its parent company, Lanco Infratech. The 70 workers, who work at Collie in WA's south-west, face a 43% pay cut if the FWC's decision were to stand.
United Firefighters Union (UFU) members handed out leaflets at polling booths in Victorian marginal seats on election day, in an attempt to counter a Liberal scare campaign against a new enterprise agreement for UFU members employed by the Country Fire Authority (CFA). The Liberals falsely claim that the agreement gives the UFU the power of veto over CFA management decisions, and that it would prevent volunteer firefighters from fighting fires unless seven professional firefighters were present. They claim that the agreement endangers public safety.
The Mt Thorley-Warkworth "final void" is too expensive to fill in. Early this month mining giant Rio Tinto sold its mothballed Blair Athol coalmine to a tiny ASX-listed company called TerraCom for $1. Rio Tinto had been trying to sell the mine since it closed in 2012.
Dozens of Gippsland dairy workers have been locked out indefinitely by milk producer Parmalat. When workers arrived at the gates of the Parmalat-owned Longwarry Food Park, east of Melbourne, on July 5, they were met with news of the lockout and closure of the site. The Longwarry workforce is among the lowest-paid in the dairy industry according to the National Union of Workers, and had been calling for improved conditions in their pay deal to bring them in line with other Parmalat sites.
About 60 anti-uranium protesters set up a bonfire in the middle of the road leading to Olympic Dam, in South Australia, stopping all traffic in and out of the BHP Billiton uranium mine for about 19 hours on July 3. Olympic Way was also closed for about 90 minutes on July 2 as about 200 demonstrators undertook a funeral procession, carrying a black coffin and baskets of animal bones to the gates of Olympic Dam. The protest was organised by Desert Liberation Front, which opposes toxic waste dumps in Australia and wants BHP Billiton's uranium mine to be closed within two years.
Up to 150 residents of inner western Sydney crammed into the chambers of the now-sacked Ashfield Council to oppose the state government's dismissal of three suburban councils and their merger into an "Inner West Council" and to protest the controversial WestConnex tollway project. They demanded that undemocratically installed one-person administrator Richard Pearson take action on his stated intention to oppose WestConnex, in line with the unanimous positions of the three sacked councils, Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville.
New South Wales has become the first state in Australia to ban greyhound racing, with an announcement on July 7 that it will be banned from July 1 next year. Premier Mike Baird said the government was left with "no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down" after it considered an 800-page report by a special commission into the "widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals" in the industry.
"We call on the Baird state government to re-block the Waterloo towers, not knock them down," Richard Weeks, spokesperson for the Waterloo Public Housing Action Group (WPHAG), told Green Left Weekly on July 6. He was referring to the NSW Coalition government's plans to demolish the public housing towers in the inner suburb of Waterloo, and replace them with high-rise, private apartments.
While international media floods to cover the killing of police officers in the United States, the deaths of Latinos often go unnoticed. The police killings of Black men Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, which have sparked angry protests, have also justly occupied the news waves, but the death of four Latinos this week slipped by.
The 2016 federal election has confirmed the continuing decline of Australia's two-party system. The relative stability that characterised the decades after World War II was shaped by a phase of unprecedented economic growth, record low unemployment and mass home ownership. But that is long gone, in fact it was an aberration. Our system of single member electorates helped paper over the current period of rising economic insecurity, but inevitably politics is catching up.
There was some good news in the federal election. Ten Coalition members lost their seats in the July 2 federal election. Jamie Briggs lost the seat of Mayo with a swing of 16%. Sophie Mirabella lost in Indi again with a further vote decline of 17.5%. Andrew Nikolic lost in Bass with a decline of 10.8% and Wyatt Roy lost with a swing of 8.4%. Overall the Coalition vote was down 3.5%. Other Liberal figures who lost support but not their seats included Christopher Pyne, down 9.53%; Tony Abbott, down 9.01%; Peter Dutton, down 5.6%; and Kevin Andrews, down 7.6%.
Protesters march against the education reform in Mexico City. Public school teachers in Mexico City launched an indefinite strike on July 5, called by leaders of the dissident National Coordinator of Education Workers (CNTE) teachers union to protest the education reforms imposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto.
The federal election is now over and the final outcome is still being worked out, but the winners and losers are becoming clearer by the day. The two biggest losers were the major parties. While the Coalition retained enough seats to still be able to govern, it lost its sizable majority in the lower house and is facing an even more hostile Senate. The Labor Party recovered several seats overall, but it still managed to record its second lowest number of votes in a Federal election since World War II.
NSW Premier Mike Baird has announced a ban on greyhound racing, after the state government considered an 800-page report tabled by a Special Commission into "widespread cruelty" in the industry. The Special Commission, which was sparked by ABC's Four Corners investigation into the industry, was presented to racing minister Troy Grant last month. The report found that between 48,000 and 68,000 greyhounds — almost half of all greyhounds bred to race — were killed in the past 12 years because they were deemed uncompetitive.
Working women have lost their finest advocate. Lynn Beaton was one of the first of her generation to take up the fight for women's rights within the Australian trade union movement. Throughout her life Lynn was an active campaigner for the rights of women at work, as well as a researcher, strategist and historian of the labour movement. Lynn was born in Victoria, but in 1960 the family moved to London. Lynn spent her teenage years in swinging London, returning to Melbourne in 1966.