Jim McIlroy reports on a call for unions to take strike action on May 1 under the banner of workers’ rights, social justice and climate action.
After 10 weeks of protected strike action, Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) members and hazardous waste removal company Gbar have reached an agreement for a better enterprise agreement.
More than 60 unionists and supporters of the labour movement met after the Sydney May Day march on May 6 to discuss the next steps of the Right to Strike campaign.
The meeting, which built on the success of a previous meeting held on April 14, called for the critical addition of the right to strike as a core demand of the Australian Council of Trade Unions' (ACTU) Change the Rules campaign.
More than 100 unionists and supporters crowded into the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney meeting hall for a "Fight for the Right to Strike" public meeting on April 14.
Following the recent public exposure gained by the Change the Rules campaign, speakers emphasised the need to overturn anti-worker and anti-union legislation.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have undertaken a series of actions against the Victorian Transport Association, which held its annual conference at Lorne’s Mantra Hotel on March 19 and 20.
The actions were taken in protest over the Victorian Transport Association’s support for the Victorian International Container Terminal (VICT).
The High Court ruled on February 14 that a CFMEU official can be ordered to pay a penalty personally, overturning a Federal Court decision that allowed the union to pay the fine on their behalf.
In 2013, CFMEU organiser Joe Myles and about 20 other people blockaded the main entrance to the Regional Rail Link project site.
In 2016, the Federal Court fined Myles $18,000 and the union was fined $60,000. The Federal Court ruled that the CFMEU could reimburse Myles, but the ABCC challenged that decision in the High Court, where it was overruled.
The Port Kembla Coal Terminal (PKCT), south of Wollongong, locked out its 58 permanent employees without pay for five days from January 7. The move is part of the company’s ongoing drive to force workers to accept cuts to their wages and conditions.
PKCT has been in negotiations with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) for a new agreement since 2015, when the previous enterprise agreement expired.
The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's Queensland construction branch has reached an in-principle agreement that will end weekend work and increase pay and overtime rates.
The new agreement with Multiplex, Hutchinson, Watpac, Probuild and Icon complies with the federal government's building code. This prevents builders with agreements containing banned conditions, including restrictions on casual labour, union consultation arrangements and controls over rostered days off, from competing for federally-funded work.
Momentum for a new super-union has accelerated with a strong vote by members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and the Textile Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) in favour of amalgamating with the giant Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU). Both unions reported an overwhelming Yes vote.
The MUA vote was 87% in favour, with 50% of members participating. This involvement is higher than past internal MUA elections for union officers.
It is approaching crunch time for the Adani mega-coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, with the movement against it growing by the day, including in areas that traditionally support mining.