Hundreds of service workers were arrested while striking for a US$15 minimum wage and the right to form a union in cities across the United States on November 29. Organisers say the strikers remain undaunted.
Residents responded to ambulance workers’ calls to protest the proposed shut down of Fairfield’s Ambulance Office, with about 200 people gathering on November 26 to show their opposition to the NSW government’s plans to close it down.
The government plan involves basing all local ambulances at a new “superstation” at Bankstown, to coordinate with outlying paramedic response points.
As the year draws to a close, Jeremy Corbyn, the left-wing British Labour Party leader, might give a short sigh of relief. After one of the stormiest year in British politics for generations, he is one of the few who will enter 2017 in a stronger position.
The nearly two-year struggle against the Perth Freight Link (PFL) freeway project is entering what may be a decisive period. While the campaign on the street has quietened somewhat, that may soon change.
While the Colin Barnett government beat a strategic retreat on Stage 2, it has declared its intention to push ahead with Stage 1 (Roe 8) through the Beeliar Wetlands. The Premier even claims that construction may begin before Christmas.
The Victorian government has backed down on its plan to transfer Aboriginal teenagers from a youth detention centre to a maximum-security prison.
The government had planned to transfer 40 children in youth custody to a segregated wing of Barwon prison while the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre at Parkville was being repaired.
Fast food workers, many of whom are young, have been left without a union fighting for decent wages and conditions.
On November 21, a new union — the Retail and Fast Food Workers Union (RAFFWU) — announced its formation. It is a rival in more ways than one to the conservative Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees Association (SDA).
The SDA, long led by Labor Party officials, has been at the centre of a national wages scandal in which 250,000 people are being paid less than the award by major employers including Coles, Woolworths, Hungry Jack’s, KFC and McDonalds
At a packed meeting on November 25, National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at Murdoch University in Perth expressed no confidence in the university bargaining team and called on the Vice Chancellor to intervene in the negotiations.
They voted unanimously to begin industrial action with a stop work between 8.30am and 12.30pm on December 7.
They will be the first university workers in this round of collective bargaining to take industrial action.
The Zika virus, borne by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 18 to no longer be a global emergency, to the dismay of many health workers around the world. This decision will minimise the amount of research and public vigilance against Zika infection.
Earlier this year Fremantle City Council decided to cancel its Australia Day fireworks next month, describing them as “culturally insensitive”. Instead, the council announced plans to hold a free concert in Fremantle’s Esplanade Park on January 28.
The event, titled “One Day in Fremantle”, features a concert headlined by John Butler, Dan Sultan and Mama Kin and will celebrate diversity and multiculturalism in Australia today.
Irene Bolger was branch secretary of the Victorian branch of the Royal Australian Nursing Federation (RANF) when 20,000 nurses went on strike for 50 days in 1986. It was one of the longest strikes in Australian history and it was led by women.
Now, flipping through a stack of trade union and history books, Bolger says: “Lengthy on an international scale, it was 50 days of rage. But still I can't seem to find any reference to one of the most significant strikes in Australian history. The sexism continues."
Supporters of the NSW Hunter Valley community of Wollar held simultaneous rallies in Sydney and Mudgee on November 29 against a coalmine expansion that threatens to wipe out the village.
The NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) is reviewing the proposal to extend the Wilpinjong coalmine. It held a public hearing about the project in Mudgee but Wollar residents and supporters boycotted it and protested instead. They said the process is stacked against them and the community’s legal rights have been taken away.
The Larrakia Nation Aboriginal Corporation and the University of Tasmania have joined forces for a refreshing new study on Black–white relations in Darwin.
Telling it like it is: Aboriginal perspectives on race and race relations is the “first study to undertake comprehensive research on how Aboriginal people view settler Australians and settler Australian culture”, according to UTas’s announcement of the study’s early findings.
Queensland Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles has announced that the state will ban single-use plastic shopping bags by 2018. About 800 million plastic bags are used there every year.
The government has been considering a ban for more than a year. Miles said Queensland would push ahead and not wait for Victoria and NSW to come on board for an east-coast ban.
For years, those who had hoped and prayed for his death were repeatedly disappointed by a photo, a news clip or a commentary in that unmistakable style.
The rumours always proved unfounded. Fidel Castro, who had dodged some 600 attempts on his life orchestrated by the CIA, was very much alive and making the most of his twilight years.
There were no rumours this time. His brother Raul, voice quavering with emotion, read out a brief statement on TV and a sombre stillness descended on the Cuban archipelago.
“Despite the fact that Australia’s on the verge of becoming the world’s largest exporter of LNG [Liquified Natural Gas], there’ll be no new revenues from the primary tax on oil and gas for the next two decades and perhaps even longer,” Tax Justice Network (TJN) researcher Jason Ward said on October 10.
The TJN is a coalition of churches, welfare groups, unions and other civil society organisations.
This primary tax is the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT), initiated by Bob Hawke’s Labor government in the 1980s.
The Zika virus, borne by the mosquito Aedes aegypti, was declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 18 to no longer be a global emergency, to the dismay of many health workers around the world. This decision will minimise the amount of research and public vigilance against Zika infection.