750

Cuba: How the Workers & Peasants Made the Revolution
By Chris Slee
Resistance Books, 2008
55pages, $6.00(pb)
Available from <http://www.resistancebooks.com>
More than 10,000 unionists marched through Brisbane’s streets on May 5, celebrating the union movement’s role in the defeat of the Howard government last year. The annual Labour Day parade was led by the building unions, with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) in the lead. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the original building workers\' union in Queensland.
In presenting the state budget on May 6, Premier John Brumby announced that “doing business in Victoria will become even easier”. The ALP government’s pro-corporate measures will cut almost $1.5 billion from taxes and costs for the big end of town.
After a four-hour community blockade on April 9, Melbourne Chef agreed to pay out sacked National Union of Workers (NUW) member Abdelwahab Bekhaled and negotiate a collective agreement at the site. However, the company reneged on the agreement, sparking a month-long union campaign. Bekhaled has finally received a payout that included long-service leave and all his entitlements.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and state mines and energy minister Geoff Wilson were on hand in early May to celebrate Rio Tinto’s announcement that the company would double exports of coal from Queensland in the next seven years.
On May 5, Victorian Premier John Brumby and education minister Bronwyn Pike announced that they had struck a deal with the Victorian Australian Education Union (AEU) over teachers’ pay. While there are several aspects of the agreement to be finalised, the government decided to go public and claimed that Victorian teachers are now the highest-paid teachers in Australia.
The plan for the privatisation of electricity in NSW is like the mythical creature the hydra, which had multiple heads. It had to be “killed” many times before it would actually die — and every time it was “killed” it could bite back apparently unharmed.
On May 5, the night before the Victorian budget was released, it was revealed that Premier John Brumby’s government is proposing to pay households with solar power$0.60 per kilowatt hour for electricity that they feed into the grid. However, this $0.60 will only be paid if households are exporting more energy than they are taking from the grid.
“How many minutes to midnight, do you reckon it is?”, asked a Green Left Weekly buyer at a street stall last week.
Thirty people participated in a media stunt outside the office of federal resource minister Martin Ferguson on May 7 to demand that he and the ALP keep their election promise to repeal the Commonwealth Radioactive Management Act of 2005 and its 2006 amendment. The protest was organised by Friends of the Earth.

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