workers' rights & unions

Australian merchant seafarers demand work not dole

"Australian merchant seafarers demand and expect to have the right to work in their own country" read a letter from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) state secretary Bob Carnegie to the general manager of Rio Tinto.

The recent victorious strike by teachers in West Virginia, which was organised bottom up by rank-and-file teachers, 75% women, has demonstrated the truth of what worker militant and songwriter Joe Hill wrote: “There is power in a band of working [people], when they stand hand in hand!”

Both of Victoria's daily newspapers, The Age and the Herald-Sun, had front page articles on March 6 attacking the proposed enterprise agreement covering firefighters employed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB). This agreement is currently being voted on by MFB staff.

About five million women went on strike and marched in Spain on March 8 in support of a call for an international women’s strike to mark International Women’s Day and demand a just and egalitarian society, TeleSUR English said that day.

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.

Firefighters employed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) have begun voting on a new enterprise agreement, which includes a pay rise of 19% over four years.

The previous agreement expired in 2013.

MFB management resisted including clauses in the new agreement requiring it to consult with the United Firefighters Union (UFU) on a range of questions, such as equipment and uniforms, and clauses clearly specifying the rights of workers in relation to issues such as rosters.

About 90 Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) members at Australian Paper’s Preston envelope factory returned to work victorious on March 6 after an eight-week strike, with most of the workers’ terms being met and the rest to be negotiated.

The formation of a militant super-union has been given the go-ahead by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in a decision announced on March 6.

Founding national secretary of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) Michael O'Connor welcomed the formation of the new union, created by the amalgamation of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), and the Textile, Clothing, and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA).

From militant suffragette at the beginning of the 20th century to campaigner against colonialism in Africa after World War II, British Sylvia Pankhurst dedicated her life to fighting oppression and injustice.

In what has proven to be the largest industrial action in the higher education sector in recent history, the University and College Union (UCU) launched the first day of strike action across Britain on February 22.

Striking against planned cuts to the pension schemes of academic staff, staff and students took collective action on 61 different universities across the country.


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