workers' rights & unions

Hundreds of people took part in a union rally to support a fair enterprise agreement at the University of Queensland on May 10. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) organised the industrial action in support of it's campaign.

NTEU branch president Andrew Bonnell told the rally that this was his fourth experience in negotiating an enterprise agreement at UQ and that it was "getting harder" to reach a resolution due to management intransigence.

In the biggest union mobilisation in Australia in more than a decade, up to 120,000 unionists and supporters descended on the streets of Melbourne on May 9.

The protest was organised as part of the Change the Rules campaign. The rally followed a mass delegates meeting in April and was the conclusion of nearly a fortnight of union actions across the country to launch the campaign.

McDonald’s workers in Britain called for a “McStrike” on May Day to demand three simple things: a £10 an hour minimum wage, the end of zero-hours contracts and the right to unionise, TeleSUR English said.

Workers from at least five different branches in Manchester, Watford, Crayford and Cambridge walked out on May 1, the International Workers’ Day, to demand their labour rights, with the support of the country’s fast food and trade unions.

Demonstrations to mark May Day — International Workers’ Day, commemorated globally on May 1 — took place in cities around the world, as workers protested for their rights and celebrated their gains.

Across France, about 150,000 people took part in labour marches, according to government estimates, up slightly on 2017. 

On the steps of Victorian Trades Hall, on the morning of April 27, the deaths of 26 workers in Victoria over the past year were remembered in a moving service for International Workers’ Memorial Day.

The official statistics provided by WorkSafe do not take into account workers killed by occupational disease, in accidents in transit or people working on their own. Considering this, unions estimate that more than 200 workers were killed in Victoria over the past year in relation to their work.

The Health Services Union (HSU) expenses affair was a protracted political scandal that, 2006 to 2011, revealed the criminal activity of former HSU national secretary and former Labor politician Craig Thomson as well as former national president and former general secretary of HSU East Michael Williamson.

In 2008 Kathy Jackson succeeded Craig Thomson as general secretary of the HSU. Jackson’s role in the HSU scandal provides us with an intriguing case study on the relationship between politics and cognitive dissonance.

 

I happily admit that I will take any opportunity to parade down the street waving a red flag, and the May Day march in Hamilton on Sunday will be one of those opportunities.

Since the 1850s, when the first workers’ associations were formed in the Hunter, trade unionists and their families have put their demands forward on occasions such as May Day.

About 500 members of the Health Services Union (HSU), United Voice, NSW Nurses and Midwives Association (NSWNMA) and other unions gathered in Hyde Park on April 19 to "Rally for Respect: Time to Care for Aged Care."

Speakers represented the various health sector unions, as well as UnionsNSW, and Labor federal and state politicians.

Malcolm Turnbull’s Coalition government has cut billions of dollars from the aged care sector. This has had an enormous impact on the lives of older Australians in care, their families and those who care for them.

In a major win for workers’ rights, workers at a United States fast-food chain, Burgerville, in Portland, Oregon, have overwhelmingly voted for a federally-recognised union. This will make it the first fast food union in the country.

“Today workers at 92nd and Powell overwhelmingly voted yes, making the the only formally recognized fast food union in the country,” the Burgerville Workers Union, said on its Facebook page after the vote on April 23.

 

Former staff and United Voice union members protested outside Barry cafe in Northcote’s trendy High Street shopping strip on April 23 after workers said they were sacked for asking to be paid award wages.

The staff say they were paid $18 an hour and no penalty rates for weekends or public holidays. Under the award, the minimum rate should have been $23.51 for weekday shifts and $29.30 for weekends.

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