workers' rights & unions

GREEN LEFT REPORT #10: Left wins in council and union elections + more

Features interviews with Sue Bolton, the newly elected Socialist Alliance councillor for Moreland in Melbourne and Lindsay Hawkins, one of the Progressive PSA team that have won control of the union representing NSW public servants.

Ireland: Welfare fight threatens power-sharing

Sinn Fein MLA and Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness indicated on March 9 that his party would oppose the new welfare reform bill in the northern Irish Assembly in the six Irish counties still occupied by Britain.

McGuinness accused government partners the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) of acting in bad faith. Sinn Fein is in a power-sharing arrangement as part of the Good Friday peace agreement signed in 1998, which sought to end the violence that had wracked Ireland's north since the 1ate 1960s, known as The Troubles.

Real jobs are the real issue this election

The silence around jobs in the NSW election is deafening.

Newcastle has been losing 200 jobs a year from the sale of state assets and the casualisation and retrenchment of state employees.

Up to 8000 workers in jobs such as fitters, boilermakers, welders, riggers and trades assistants in ship building and rail manufacture are also under threat.

Both major parties are focusing on other issues instead of the Hunter region’s jobs.

Construction union supports Socialist Alliance NSW campaign

Socialist Alliance has welcomed support from the NSW CFMEU Construction Division for its state election campaign. The union recently voted to donate $5000 to the campaign and profiled a Socialist Alliance Upper House candidate, CFMEU member and mobile crane operator Howard Byrnes, in its latest union journal Unity.

Emergency appeals for Vanuatu

West Papua independence leader Benny Wenda has launched an urgent appeal to help those affected by Cyclone Pam which has caused much loss of life and destruction throughout many Pacific nations.

“I urgently need help for my Brothers and Sisters in the Pacific particularly in Vanuatu and other islands who have lost everything due to the cyclone disaster we have all seen on the TV news," Wenda, the Spokesperson for the United Liberation Movement of West Papua, said.

Rise of left gov'ts pose need for popular power

Experience proves that left-wing movements can win government, but nevertheless not hold power. Democracy, in other words the exercise of power by the people and for the people, requires much more.

The problem is now being faced in Greece with with radical left party SYRIZA, which won elections in January. It will have to be faced in Spain if the new anti-austerity party Podemos wins November elections.

Britain: Revitalised climate movement draws 20,000 to protest

Some 20,000 people marched through central London on Saturday, in the Time to Act! protest, demanding that climate change be taken seriously by political parties in the coming General Election.

Time to Act!, launched by the Campaign Against Climate Change, brought together a wide coalition of environmental and left wing organisations.

The march was young, vibrant and diverse: placards from the Greens, Socialist Worker and Left Unity mixed with banners and flags from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Peoples’ Assembly and trade unions.

Liverpool City Council employees to stop work

On Wednesday March 11, members of the United Services Union (USU)at Liverpool City Council will stop work to discuss management’s attacks on members’ working conditions. The stop work is to take place in Bigge Park in the centre of Liverpool from 10am.

The NSW government’s “Fit for the Future” process is requiring councils in Sydney to show significant cost savings or be amalgamated. Council’s senior management has used this process as a justification for mounting an attack on the conditions of its employees across the board.

Liverpool City Council employees stop work

Members of the United Services Union (USU) at Liverpool City Council, NSW, stopped work on March 11 to discuss management’s attacks on members’ working conditions. The stopwork took place in Bigge Park in the centre of Liverpool from 10am.

USU state secretary Graham Kelly told the meeting that Liverpool chief executive officer Carl Wulff had begun talking to councillors in August last year about the outsourcing of the council’s customer services.

UNSW staff strike for better pay and conditions

Staff at the University of NSW took industrial action on March 11 in response to stalled enterprise bargaining negotiations.

The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is seeking a pay rise of 3.5%, employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and greater job security, including opportunities for permanence for casual staff, some of whom have been employed on a casual basis for many years.

Classes were cancelled for the day and about 100 NTEU members and students picketed six gates around the campus.

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