Geelong

Sources have informed Green Left Weekly that the new CEO of Barwon Health in Victoria is on the warpath and the target appears to be patient services.

Barwon Health incorporates University Hospital Geelong, Geelong’s only public hospital and the only tertiary-level hospital outside of Metropolitan Melbourne. The hospital’s catchment area extends from Werribee to the South Australian border, encompassing more than 350,000 Victorians and up to 500,000 for certain specialised treatments.

Our current industrial laws are anti-worker, anti-union and unjust. A campaign to change them is a must.

Social media has become integrated into workers’ daily lives yet there are few industrial agreements that remunerate them for the changes this has brought about in their working conditions, writes Geelong Trades Hall Council secretary Colin Vernon.

More than 50 people attended the annual May Day Dinner held in Geelong on May 5. Speakers at the dinner included Maritime Union of Australia women’s liaison officer Mich-Elle Myers and Victorian Allied Health Professionals Association secretary Craig McGregor. Former Secretary of Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) Tim Gooden also gave a toast to Green Left Weekly.

Green Left Weekly asked Myers and McGregor, as well as current GTHC secretary Colin Vernon, why it is important to celebrate May Day.

Unemployed activists, with the support of the Geelong Trades Hall Council, have established a branch of the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU) in Geelong.

National Union of Workers (NUW) members at the Ridley Agri site in the Geelong suburb of Lara stopped work for 24 hours on January 29 after negotiations lasting more than six months for a new enterprise agreement broke down.

The workers, who are all on individual contracts, want to collectively negotiate an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

A resolution between the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) was agreed on December 15, following a 19-day community assembly at Webb Dock and more mass support planned. Union leaders have described it as an important win for workers.

Despite court action by the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT) against unions and key union leaders, support for the community assembly at Webb Dock is growing.

At the annual Geelong Trades Hall Council (GTHC) President’s Night on December 12, a solidarity motion with the community assembly was carried unanimously. The 100-strong gathering also agreed to mobilise the community on New Year’s Day 2018.

Workers gathered at Geelong Trades Hall on November 24 to raise funds for Esso maintenance workers in Longford, Victoria, who have been locked out for 170 days. Barbecues sizzled, drinks flowed and Scabby the Rat was inflated, while workers were entertained by the classic rock band, Rock n Roll Exchange.

Esso’s maintenance contractor UGL, which operates maintenance on the gas rigs in Bass Strait, ended the previous employment agreement and offered workers a new agreement with 40% less pay, worse conditions and extended rosters on the platform with no guaranteed shore breaks.

The results of the 2017 City of Greater Geelong Council elections have been declared, with Greens candidate Sarah Mansfield being elected in Brownbill Ward.

Mansfield won more than 17% of the primary vote. Her election was aided by a strong preference flow from residents who voted for Socialist Alliance (SA) candidates Sue Bull and Sarah Hathway.

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