Australian Services Union

"The refugee crisis is a union issue, as well as a social justice issue," Australian Services Union (ASU) NSW and ACT deputy secretary Judith Wright told about 100 people on June 27 at the "Change the Rules for Refugees" forum organised by Unions for Refugees.

"The ASU has members in support services for refugees. They see first-hand the results of the oppression and violence suffered by asylum seekers," she said.

In the lead up to the South Australian election, Premier Jay Weatherill announced on March 5 that an incoming Labor government would introduce portable long service leave for community services workers.

Australian Services Union (ASU) members in all states have been campaigning for long service leave portability for many years. So far only Victoria and the ACT have been successful. Portability of entitlements will bring stability to the sector. Community Services is a growing industry in which recruitment and retention of qualified staff is an issue.

Australian Services Union (ASU) members at Melbourne’s Women’s Health West (WHW) took protected industrial action and walked off the job on November 29 to protest their employer’s actions in relation to stalled enterprise bargaining negotiations.

WHW is a not-for-profit organisation that provides a range of domestic violence and women’s health services to the community. The industrial action took place during the global “16 Days of Activism” campaign held from November 25 to December 10, which focuses on eliminating gender-based violence against women and girls.

Feminist NGO Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA) is urgently seeking funds to keep the phones switched on at the NSW Rape Crisis Centre (RCC).

The NSW RCC is the last remaining public 24 hour, 7 days a week sexual assault counselling service in the state.

Members of several trade unions rallied outside NSW government offices in Farrer Place on October 4 as part of a national day of action to demand 10 days of paid domestic violence leave for all workers.

About 100 people attended a community celebration in Port Augusta on September 2 to mark a huge win for the local community: the state government’s support for Australia’s first solar thermal power plant with storage in Port Augusta.

This was the culmination of a seven-year campaign and it will have a far-reaching impact on the future of renewable energy in this country. US company SolarReserve will begin construction of the 150MW plant in 2018. It is expected to be completed in 2020.

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.

In launching the report Not so super, for women: Superannuation and women’s retirement outcomes” by David Hetherington and Warwick Smith on July 20, Australian Services Union (ASU) national secretary David Smith said: “Australia’s compulsory superannuation system is failing women. According to the latest figures, women are retiring with around half as much superannuation (53%) as men.”

About 100 union activists and their supporters rallied and chanted outside Macquarie Tower on April 6 to support the ASU in its campaign to ensure Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA) is not privatised and is given the necessary funding for its growing work load.

Natalie Lang, ASU NSW and ACT branch secretary, spoke passionately about how the union will continue to fight for funding for the specialist sexual assault and domestic violence counselling service 1800RESPECT.

Socialist councillor Sue Bolton convinced Moreland Council on July 13 to reinstate the after-hours Aged and Disability Home Support Services for existing clients as well as new ones.

Bolton said she was enormously grateful to the parents of children with disabilities who spoke up on behalf of all the parents who were unable to come to the meeting or who didn’t think it was possible to fight the cut.

“Those parents put a human face on the implications of a very bureaucratic cut: their stories had an impact on the other councillors”, Bolton told Green Left Weekly.

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