ACTU

Australian Council of Trade Union’s president Michele O’Neil told an October 2 forum that the Coalition government’s attacks on refugees is a distraction from its failure to act on low wages, insecure work and climate change.

Following the Queensland government’s approval of Adani’s conservation plan for the endangered black-throated finch and its groundwater management plan, the company again announced it would start work on its Carmichael coalmine project “within weeks”. But it faces several more obstaces, not least of which is the huge social movement gearing up for the next stage of its campaign.

The results of the federal election have shown the limitations of the Australian Council of Trade Union-led Change the Rules campaign, writes Sarah Hathway.

Uber Eats delivery riders and drivers protested the millions of dollars in unpaid wages and other entitlements from Uber and other multinational food delivery companies.

In the banking royal commission’s final report, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne made 76 recommendations for reforms to the sector, but stopped short of calling for charges to be laid against bank executives and board members, or any radical shake-up of the industry.

This has led some, such as financial commentator Michael Pascoe writing in the February 5 New Daily, to proclaim: “And the winner is ... the big banks!” His words were promptly reinforced by the fact that bank shares skyrocketed the day after the report was released.

Australia’s super-rich keep getting richer.

A new report from Oxfam has found that the top 1% of the country’s plutocrats now own more wealth than the bottom 70%.

There has also been a record rise in the number of billionaires — from 33 to 43 — with their combined wealth now at almost $160 billion last year.

Up to 5000 unionists marched through Sydney’s CBD on September 6 to demand the right to strike and the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

A study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on labour relations in 26 developed economies, including Australia, has confirmed that workers’ real wages have fallen because labour market deregulation has “gone too far”.

The IMF researchers noted the “statistically significant, economically large and robust negative effect of deregulation” on labour’s share of national income, with workers’ share of national income falling drastically from 1975 to 2015.

The Sydney University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) held a forum on campus on June 13 to discuss how to organise to rewin the right to strike.

Professor John Buchanan, from the University of Sydney Business School, told the forum: "The current Fair Work Act (FWA), introduced by the previous Labor government, is the second worst industrial relations legislation in Australian history, after John Howard's Work Choices.

As the government’s criminal case against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) officials John Setka and Shaun Reardon ended in embarrassing collapse, unions called for the repeal of draconian secondary boycott laws.

Sympathy strikes are one of the most common forms of secondary boycott. They involve a union taking industrial action to force a company to cease trading with another company until the targeted company agrees to industrial demands. The law against secondary boycotts thus interferes with the right of workers to campaign collectively.

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