1109

Workers in retail and fast-food outlets, including Woolworths, Hungry Jack's and KFC, are being underpaid more than $300 million a year, in a national wages scandal centred on deals struck with the socially conservative Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA).

Fairfax Media has uncovered evidence that some of Australia's biggest employers are paying their employees less than the award in a longstanding and cosy partnership between big retail and fast-food employers and the union.

The South Australian government has finally admitted that oil drilling in the Great Australian Bight is a risk, with two government reports highlighting the risks of spills and shipping and threats to marine life.

The Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure’s South Australian Marine Spill Contingency Action Plan admits: “The intended drilling activities increases both the South Australian and West Australian risk profile with respect to possible spills from the rig itself as well as an increase in shipping movements to and from the rig.”

The federal government has published a proposed law to restrict the rights of firefighters and other emergency service workers.

The new law will amend the Fair Work Act to ban enterprise agreements covering workers employed by a “designated emergency management body” from containing “objectionable” terms — including requirements for management to consult with the relevant union.

The Bolivian mining cooperative protests and the August 25 killing of the Bolivian Vice-Minister of the Interior Rodolfo Illanes by cooperative miners requires us to question our assumptions about the cooperatives.

Most of Bolivia’s mining cooperatives began during the Great Depression as miners banded together to work a mine in common. However, like many cooperatives in the US that arose out of the 1960s, they have turned into small businesses.

Regardless of their initial intentions, cooperatives existing in a capitalist environment must compete in business practices or go under.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Australian Maritime Officer's Union (AMOU) have hailed a High Court victory that will protect local jobs on offshore oil and gas projects and curb the exploitation of foreign workers.

The High Court unanimously ruled on August 31 against the federal government's decision to exempt workers on vessels in the offshore oil and gas industry from visa requirements. The unions argued that the exemptions provided an incentive for companies to hire foreigners on lower wages and undercut safety standards and conditions.


Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a rally supporting besieged Kobanê. London, October 19, 2014.

Britain’s socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is campaigning for re-election as party leader in the face of sustained hostility from the right wing of Labour and the corporate media.

Racism is responsible for the murder of a young boy near Kalgoorlie on August 29.

It is one of several recent examples that demonstrate that the sentiment behind the US #BlackLivesMatter movement is just as relevant in this country.

National attention has focused on the case in large part because hundreds of people protested outside the Kalgoorlie courthouse on August 30. Windows were broken and police cars were damaged — small biscuits compared to the loss of a young boy's life.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says 4475 people were killed in the nation's horrific civil war during July. Of these, 1289 were civilians, including 263 children.

Almost three quarters of these civilian casualties were killed in airstrikes by the government or its ally, Russia, and other attacks by the pro-government side, SOHR said.

Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 400,000 people have been killed, between 4-to-5 million people have left Syria as refugees and about 8 million have been internally displaced.

More than 60 people took part in a vigil outside the Broadmeadows Magistrates’ Court on September 2 to support Jasmine Pilbrow who was found guilty of “interference with a crew member of an aircraft”.

In February last year, Pilbrow refused to take her seat on a Qantas aircraft in which a Tamil asylum seeker was being taken to Darwin before being deported to Sri Lanka.

Melanie Brown told the gathering her friend had peacefully explained to others on the plane her reasons for taking the action. Two other people then also stood up.

Since the extra-judicial killing of Burhan Wani, a Kashmiri independence fighter, by Indian security forces in a village in south Kashmir on July 8, hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris have once again taken to the streets in protest.

Kashmir is occupied by India and the territory is also claimed by Pakistan. Many Kashmiris, however, are struggling for independence.

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