Analysis: What's Inside the Government's Fair Work Omnibus Bill?

Earlier this month Attorney General Christian Porter introduced the Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 to parliament. This comes as part of the Morrison government’s supposed attempts to help aid recovery from COVID-19, with the coalition arguing the amendments will provide an opportunity for businesses to recover from a pandemic-induced economic crisis and ensure the creation of new jobs. Unsurprisingly, these business-friendly measures pose a significant attack on workers rights and seek to overturn a number of the limited protections and rights currently provided by the Fair Work Act. The amendments included in this Omnibus Bill will make it easier for employers to use the current crisis to drive down conditions in order to boost profits.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Andrew Irving

Andrew Irving
RTBU

How long have you been a union member?

43 years.

Why did you join the union?

Third generation Communist family. Grand father coal miner Wonthaggi. Father sacked Menzies Government from TAA because he was a com. He was last left executive member of Clerks Union before it was taken over by the Groupers.

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OHS Matters: Food Delivery Drivers are Dying

 

“The gig economy is designed to provide large corporations with a bottomless pool of expendable cheap labour – that can be dismissed or replaced with and for which they have no duty of care.”
(First Dog on the Moon)

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Analysis: AFP Raids on CFMMEU Homes, Offices are Politically Motivated Fishing Expeditions

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) and NSW Police raids on CFMMEU union official homes and offices can only be seen as part an on-going attack on unions by the Liberal government. On the 18th of November the CFMMEU Pyrmont headquarters was raided and the cops spent eleven hours gathering who-knows-what for sifting through at their leisure. Raids were also carried out at the homes of union officials.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Samantha Bond

Samantha Bond
ASU, International Organiser with Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA

How long have you been a union member?

39 years.

Why did you join the union?

I joined my first union as a 14 year old casual at K-Mart. The woman in payroll gave me the form and told me I didn’t have to join. I remember clearly thinking well obviously that means I DO have to join.

My next union was Actors’ Equity which was a closed shop for working actors in the 1980’s. No ticket – No start.

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OHS Matters: Who Can Be an HSR?

What is the status of non-permanent workers under the OHS Act? Can they be elected as HSRs?

 

“I’ve been told by a manager that casual workers are ineligible to nominate in HSR elections, is that true?”

 

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Analysis: The Covid Stress Test

The Covid-19 pandemic is a stress test for societies at a global scale. The virus has been ruthless in exposing underlying fault lines and weaknesses in almost all countries, while also revealing strengths.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Ryan Stanton

 

Ryan Stanton
Formerly NUW (now UWU), currently ETU
Current rank and file member, previous NUW delegate and HSR

How long have you been a union member?

12 years.

Why did you join the union?

I became a member of Socialist Alternative. I was convinced to do union activism through the broader political convictions of revolutionary socialism. The working class is key to any project of progressive social change, especially social revolution.

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OHS Matters: Workplace COVIDSafe Plan

 

“Hi, I just want to know if, on returning to our workplace, managers can elect NOT to wear masks under “COVID-normal” ops? I do and was never asked not to, just the same, is the law not strong on this?”

 

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Analysis: Health Care in Australia

 

Australia has a good health care system when compared to most of the world. It provides access to primary heath services, hospitals and medication for the vast majority of its citizens at no or low cost. This is achieved through Medicare, the PBS and the public hospital system. It is far better than the American situation where health care is almost fully profit-driven, wildly expensive and completely out of reach of the poor and uninsured. However Australia’s claim to have a universal heath care system is not true, when many vital services are only available privately – dental care and mental health care being two of the most obvious examples.

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