More than 100 members of unions, aid and development organisations, health, environment and other groups rallied in Sydney on June 15 outside the Federal Parliament's Joint Standing Committee public hearing on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)-11 trade agreement. The rally was organised by the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET).
The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) launched its national boycott campaign against Streets ice cream products on October 29, urging people to “stand up for fairness and commit to a Streets-Free Summer”.
AMWU NSW secretary Steve Murphy said the workers had no choice but to call for a boycott after Streets “hit the nuclear option”.
Multinational giant Unilever, which owns Streets ice cream, has applied to the Fair Work Commission to terminate an enterprise agreement at its Minto plant in western Sydney. If the workers are forced back on to the award, they would suffer a significant loss in pay and conditions.
The Minto workers, members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), rejected a proposed agreement that would have seen new employees paid less and with worse conditions compared to existing workers.
Dave Oliver announced his resignation as secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions on January 31 after five years in the post. Vice-president Sally McManus is likely to take the role.
The Electrical Workers Union and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union issued the following statement on December 7 after the 55 sacked Carlton and United Brewery maintenance workers at the Abbottsford brewery voted on a resolution to the dispute that started on June 10.
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The ETU and AMWU announced today that they have reached agreement to immediately end the dispute with the maintenance workforce at the Abbotsford brewery in Melbourne, Victoria.
About 40 members of Unions ACT, CPSU, United Voice, retired workers' organisation Vintage Reds, Socialist Alliance and the AMWU and ETU from Melbourne, representing the unions covering the 55 sacked workers from Carlton United Breweries, along with their inflatable anti-mascot, "Scabby the Rat", protested on November 22 on the front lawns of Parliament House.
Workers at the Geelong oil refinery, with the support of community members, maintained a 24-hour picket from October 5 to 11 at four refinery access gates over serious safety concerns at the site. The refinery, previously owned by Shell, has been managed by Viva Energy for the past two years.
About 250 people attended a rally on August 4 in solidarity with 55 sacked maintenance workers who had been employed at the Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) plant in Abbotsford.
The workers, members of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, were sacked on June 10. They were told they could re-apply for their jobs with a new contracting company, but that their pay would be cut by 65%.
The rally, held outside the CUB brewery, was attended by members and officials from a wide range of unions.
The industrial action by Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) maintenance workers in Abbotsford has entered its seventh week. The company is refusing to back down from its decision to sack the workers and then offer to rehire them with a 65% pay cut.
The dispute started on June 10 when 55 fitters, electricians and maintenance workers backed by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) were told by management that they would be sacked, only to be then “invited” to re-apply for their job through a third-party contractor, Catalyst Recruitment.
A community protest and picket has been set up for a second time outside the Little Creatures Brewing factory under construction in Geelong. The picket began on October 22 but was lifted after 7 days so that negotiations could take place. The talks broke down and the picket has been reimposed since November 14.
Up to 50 Geelong workers have protested every weekday about the use of “sham contracting”.