1129

Thousands of unionists attended protests around the country on March 9 in opposition to the federal government's new building code, the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and its planned penalty rate cuts.

The rallies were called by the CFMEU Construction Division and supported by the ACTU and individual unions. Community anger against the cuts to wages and conditions was palpable.

There have been destructive attacks on the homeless in the past year in Melbourne, but the vitriolic hate campaign and physical attacks on the street, and on squatters, has reached a deadly level: murder. 

Just before midnight on March 1, a cowardly arson attack set off a blazing fire at Kinnear’s rope factory in Footscray, which took 40 minutes for the fire brigade to control. Three squatters were tragically killed: Tanya Burmeister and her 15- year-old daughter Zoe were among the dead.

The campaign against the NSW Coalition government's controversial WestConnex tollway is mounting. In addition to various locality groups maintaining their protests, a combined rally — “Grand Theft WestConnex — has been called outside NSW State Parliament on March 30 from 4.30pm.

The rally has been endorsed by a number of anti-WestConnex groups, and is seeking further endorsements. The rally is demanding that the $1.6 billion federal loan for WestConnex, which is yet to be paid, be stopped.

Jesse Lee* is organising the Sydney leg of the March in March protest on March 25. She lives in Sydney’s west and is the primary carer for one of her children. She has first-hand experience of the welfare cuts and the vagaries of the disability support scheme. 

Lee put her hand up to organise the Sydney march because she strongly believes that protests are important and they work. She also believes that now is not the time to be quiet.

Ian Hodson, national president of the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union, explains why his union continues to support socialist Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, as the veteran left-winger faces fresh calls to resign over his alleged “unelectability”.

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has signed new work arrangements with Japanese energy giant Inpex covering the $34 billion Ichthys LNG project, off the north-west coast of Western Australia.

They include the implementation of a diversity program, the promotion of Australian crews on certain support vessels and an enhanced dispute settlement process with a dedicated conciliator to help resolve potential disputes.

For the first time since Ireland was partitioned in 1921 as part of a treaty to end Ireland’s War of Independence, supporters of Northern Ireland’s “union” with the British state no longer hold a majority in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Workers locked out of Parmalat's Echuca dairy processing plant since January 18 resoundingly rejected the factory's latest EBA offer.

The workers voted 67 to 1 against the unfair offer on March 3.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union food secretary Tom Hale said the deal failed to address a large number of concerns relating to wages, leave, redundancy and contractor agreements.

Despite the wet weather, the commemoration of the 213th Anniversary of the Battle of Vinegar Hill went ahead at the Vinegar Hill Monument in the grounds of Castlebrook Memorial Park on March 5.

A plaque in memory of Tomas O'Gliasain, also known as Thomas Gleeson, was unveiled by his widow Christine. Gleeson has contributed to the commemoration for the past 20 years and worked tirelessly over that time to keep the event going.

More than 1000 early childhood educators walked off the job at 3.20pm on March 8 as part of a national action to protest gender pay inequality and a lack of government funding for the industry.

Dozens of childcare centres closed mid-afternoon to support the national campaign, which follows similar actions held on the same day last year.

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