Twice daily outside almost every Victorian public hospital there are nurses protesting and waving banners in a spirited display of defiance. They are not being incited by their union. They are walking off the job for four hours at a time, demanding a pay rise and defending the very essence of quality public health. A brief scouring of social media or talkback radio shows that Victorians love nurses, despite government propaganda to the contrary. See also: Vic nurses 'dislike' Baillieu government Facebook gag
After Victorian nurses walked off the job from six Victorian hospitals, Ted Baillieu's state government was still refusing to undertake effective negotiations with the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF). The dispute has dragged on for eight months and has been in its current conciliation process under Fair Work Australia (FWA) for 105 days. On February 24, the FWA ordered the ANF to stop all industrial action as sought by the government. But the ANF has said it will go ahead with its actions as decided on by members at a mass meeting on February 25.
More than 5000 Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) members and delegates packed meetings at Festival Hall in Melbourne and Trades Hall in Geelong to vote on the latest Enterprise Bargaining Agreement for the building industry. Under the agreement, wages will rise by 20% over four years with increases in superannuation contributions and other allowances. One significant feature of the agreement is that shop stewards will be recognised and be given the time and facilities they need to represent union members.
The elegant, seaside town of Queenscliff on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria was once a quiet “sleepy hollow”, according to Chris Johnson, a local resident and public housing tenant for 30 years. But recently the Victorian Office of Housing realised its tenants were sitting on a goldmine. Some tenants have been relocated to shoebox-sized units in less attractive areas. Meanwhile, on October 9, two heritage-listed pilot cottages owned by the department were sold for $1.2 million.
On May 18, during proceedings in Fair Work Australia, negotiations ended between Ford and the Electrical Trades Union and Australian Metal Workers Metals Division over the “Ford Australia Enterprise Agreement 2009 (Skilled Trades)”. The content of the agreement has been the subject of a dispute that has involved two 24-hour strikes.
On May 10, skilled trades members of the Electrical Trade Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union from Geelong and Broadmeadows Ford plants held a 24-hour stoppage. They were demanding better pay and conditions under their enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) and took their protest to the street. Ford wants to freeze the wages of all fixed-term employees at the current (2008) level one entry rate ($986.65 a week). The company did not verify the length of its proposed wage freeze.