workers' rights & unions

Do you feel safe while you are at work? Do you think your bosses care about your physical and mental wellbeing?

The growing reality seems to be that more and more bosses do not care about the wellbeing of workers, and the larger the business the worse it seems to get.

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.

On October 10, 90% of poultry workers at Golden Farms processing plant in Geelong voted in favour of a protected action ballot and to reject the company's offer on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA).

The National Union of Workers (NUW) has been having regular meetings with delegates, as well as mass members’ meetings, over the past few weeks to canvass members’ opinions on the conditions that are most important to them and to plan a campaign to put pressure on the company.

It has been 125 days since the Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) plant in Abbotsford sacked 55 electricians and fitters, who have a combined history of 906 years of service at CUB, and a protest was begun at the brewery gates.

Since then, the ownership and labour contractor of CUB have changed and thousands of Australians have joined a boycott of CUB products.

The Senate voted on October 10 to pass legislation aimed at blocking the Victorian Country Fire Authority (CFA) enterprise agreement.

Those voting for the law were the Coalition, Pauline Hanson's One Nation, the Nick Xenophon Team and right-wing independents David Leyonhjelm and Derryn Hinch. Labor, the Greens and independent Jacqui Lambie opposed the bill.

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.

Hundreds of Australian Services Union members marched through the streets of Melbourne on October 12 as part of a long running campaign against an unfair enterprise agreement at the City of Melbourne.

In a dramatic depiction of the vast differences in resources and respect between men’s and women’s sport, a report by the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has laid bare the woeful pay and conditions for W-League football (soccer) players.

AAP reported on September 23 that he report by the PFA, the union representing Australian footballers, surveyed almost two-thirds of W-League players last season. The report suggests players could walk away from the game because of the financial strain.

Truck drivers are celebrating a major win over industry lobby group NatRoad in its bid to pay them less by seeking an exemption from rules in NSW setting minimum pay rates.

The NSW Industrial Relations Commission dismissed NatRoad’s application, which was opposed by the Transport Workers’ Union (TWU), on October 4.

TWU NSW branch secretary Richard Olsen said: “This is an important win for owner drivers in NSW. NatRoad do not represent owner drivers, they represent companies that want to rip them off.”

Three hundred workers assembled at the entry of the Geelong oil refinery on October 7 for a community protest against unsafe conditions at the refinery.

The 60-year-old refinery, previously operated by Shell, was bought by Viva Energy Australia in August 2014, and it immediately pledged $150 million for maintenance work.


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