Australia

An indefinite strike by 1600 Alcoa workers in Western Australia that began on August 8 has entered a new stage with the start of a Fair Work Commission (FWC) hearing in which the company is seeking to terminate the existing enterprise agreement. If the company's move is successful, workers at the multi-billion dollar company’s aluminium refineries and bauxite mines would be forced onto an inferior agreement that offers no job security and a possible wage cut of up to 50%.

An estimated 7000 childcare workers took industrial action by walking off the job around Australia on September 5 to demand equal pay.

Comedian and radio personality Wendy Harmer tweeted recently about a dinner experience she had: “Had my Liberal-voting friends over last night who are adamant the Govt. should nationalise the banks — same position as espoused by Green Left Weekly. Weren't best pleased when I pointed this out. Fun debate :)” 

It’s no surprise people are drawing this conclusion, as more revelations from the banking royal commission show just how much the banks have screwed over customers in the name of profits.

On September 13, Micah Weekes, once a coal miner and now an anti-coal activist stopped a coal train heading into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle.

A former scaffolder from the Central Coast, Weekes worked in the coal industry for nearly 10 years. He said he was taking action because of the coal industry’s toxic impact on people’s health.

“You don’t have to work in the industry to get sick from this. My kids are going to get sick. It’s already happening. People in my community have reoccurring respiratory illnesses, cancers and tumours.”

“Kick coal out of politics” was the key message protesters sent to the new Prime Minister from Cronulla Park on September 8.

The action in the PM's electorate involved some 500 people and was part of the global #Rise for Climate. It was one of 40 protest actions organised in all capital cities and some 30 other cities and towns across the country.

Actions focussed on clean energy where people and justice are put before profits were organised in 83 countries.

Fifty refugee supporters held a vigil on World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10, to commemorate the suicides of three refugees in the space of two weeks.

A snap protest was organised by the Committee in Solidarity with Peoples Struggles in Iran on September 12 in response to the execution of three Kurdish political prisoners in Iran: Ramin Hussein Panahi, Loghman Moradi and Zanier Morandi.

Protesters took to the streets of Sydney on September 12 against Australia’s prosecution of Witness K and his lawyer Bernard Collaery for allegedly whistleblowing on Australia’s bugging of Timor-Leste government offices.

The WestConnex privatisation “involves arguably the biggest misuse of public funds for corporate gain in Australian history”, Sydney University transport analyst Chris Standen wrote on September 3.

Standen was commenting on the August 31 announcement by the New South Wales Coalition government that it was selling off 51% of the controversial WestConnex tollway complex to a Transurban-led consortium for $9.3 billion.

“Crystalline silica is the new asbestos, but Australians are simply not aware of the dangers involved in working with such a common substance as compressed stone,” Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) secretary Luke Hilikari said at the release of the new silica dust standard in late August.

There has been a significant rise in the number of workers suffering silicosis and lung cancers caused by inhaling silica particles while manufacturing, cutting and installing compressed stone benchtops.

Pages

Subscribe to Australia