A delegation of unionists travelled to the Pilliga forest, in Northern NSW, in solidarity with the Gomeroi people resisting Santos' Narrabri coal seam gas mining operation. Jim McIlroy reports.
Australian Manufacturing Workers Union
“Join your union and bargain together” is the lesson from the recent pay campaign by EDI-Downer workers, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) NSW assistant secretary Corey Wright told Green Left Weekly.
A three-day strike involving mass meetings, rallies and a march of 200 workers down Newcastle’s Hunter Street, encouraged the company to start serious discussions with the union after six months of stalling.
Workers at the Streets ice-cream factory in the south-western Sydney suburb of Minto voted on November 22 to end a boycott campaign against the company, after agreeing to ratify an in-principle agreement with Streets over pay and other issues.
The new agreement will reportedly give the workers a 5% wage increase over three years, maintain their current working conditions and rosters and add 39 new flexible part-time jobs to the company’s workforce.
Workers at the PPG paint manufacturing plant at Villawood have been locked out for more than three months in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions.
The multinational company, which makes Taubmans, Bristol and White Knight paints, locked out 57 workers on August 10 after they refused to cancel legal industrial action during negotiations for a new enterprise agreement.
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”.
More than 300 unionists and local residents protested outside the electorate office of Liberal MP for Drummoyne John Sidoti on August 4.
Chanting “John Sidoti’s got to go!” and waving placards opposing the NSW government’s planned privatisation of public buses in the Inner West, the protest elicited much support from passing motorists and pedestrians. There was no response, however, from Sidoti’s office.
Flags from the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU), Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Australian Services Union (ASU) were prominent.
The Geelong refinery dispute may not hold the record for the longest campaign for workers’ rights, but the dispute over safety nevertheless won due to a concerted campaign.
Thousands of protesters converged on central Melbourne on September 7, marching through the CBD and blocking traffic at key intersections to support sacked brewery workers.
In the latest escalation of the dispute, unions are demanding the AFL pressure Carlton & United Breweries, one of its major sponsors, to meet the workers and to re-engage them immediately at full wages and conditions, or "face a CUB beer-free footy finals season".