Jim McIlroy

GLW author Jim McIlroy

Hutchison Port workers: 'Proud of our efforts'

“We're all very happy and proud of our efforts in this dispute: 106 days ago we didn't have a job and now we are going back inside,” a waterfront worker at the Hutchison Port Botany community assembly told Green Left Weekly on November 19.

He was commenting on the settlement agreed between Hutchison management and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) to bring to an end conclusion the long-running industrial battle over the jobs of 97 workers sacked by text and email on the night of August 6.

Communities say 'no' to forced council mergers in NSW

Around 1000 people rallied in Martin Place on November 18 to protest the Coalition state government's moves to forcibly amalgamate local councils in Sydney and throughout New South Wales.

The rally began with a black coffin to mark the “near death experience for democracy in the state”.

The rally was held on the last day the NSW government had allowed for councils to “voluntarily” agree to merge. While some councils had submitted to the amalgamation push by the deadline, the majority have refused to surrender to the government's ultimatum.

Justice for Bulga rally says 'no' to Rio coalmine

About 200 people rallied outside the NSW Supreme Court building on November 12 to demand justice for the small community of Bulga, in the upper Hunter Valley, and an end to the expansion of the Rio Tinto Warkworth coalmine that is threatening the future of their village.

Communities oppose council merger

"Overwhelmingly, our communities don't want us to merge," Greens Leichhardt councillor Rochelle Porteous said on November 12.

She was commenting on the decision by Labor and Liberal councillors in the Leichhardt, Marrickville and Ashfield councils to endorse a "voluntary" merger of the three inner-west councils, under pressure from the state government.

At meetings on November 10, the Labor and Liberal councillors voted to support a merger, should the state government proceed with its draconian plan for compulsory council amalgamations across the city.

Hutchison workers to vote on new agreement

Waterfront workers at Hutchison Ports in Sydney and Brisbane are set for a crucial vote on a new enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) on November 16. The vote takes place after 100 days of community assemblies at Port Botany and Port of Brisbane, following the controversial sacking by text and email of 97 workers at the two ports on August 6.

CPSU calls for improved public sector EBA offers

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) is calling on the Turnbull government to improve its bargaining policy to allow federal agencies to make acceptable enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) offers to public sector workers. Despite a small increase in the government's pay guideline from 1.5 to 2%, union members are insisting on a minimum rise of at least 2.5 to 3%.

Hutchison assemblies hold the line

The community assemblies at Port Botany in Sydney and Port of Brisbane continue to hold the line as the protracted process towards a settlement of the long-running dispute between Hutchison Ports and the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) continues. On November 6, the dispute over the controversial sacking of 97 Hutchison waterfront workers by text and email reached its 92nd day.

Border Force staff stood down over work bans

Border Force staff, who imposed work bans in support of their campaign for a new enterprise bargaining agreement on November 4, were stood down without pay by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP), despite the industrial action being authorised by the Fair Work Commission.

The Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) condemned the department's action as a heavy-handed escalation of the long-running dispute.

NSW govt sells $1 billion of public assets

The Mike Baird Coalition government sold $1 billion of state-owned property in 2013 and 2014, escalating its neoliberal drive to privatise public assets. Office blocks, hospitals, schools and even an island are on the block in this wholesale theft of the people's property, in the interests of the banks and big business.

In 2011–2012, the state government sold assets worth $5 million. In late 2012, it established a new agency, Government Property NSW, to identify and manage the state's substantial real estate holdings.

Public servants' campaign forces gov't retreat on pay rise

Under pressure from an industrial campaign by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), the Turnbull government has announced it will lift its cap on wage rises for federal public sector workers from 1.5% to 2%.

The government is maintaining its hard line on stripping existing workplace rights and conditions.

Only a handful of government agencies have so far this year reached EBA settlements with their workers.

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