Analysis: STOP UNSAFE WORK! Pandemic Leave for All Workers

 

COVID-19 is a very contagious, and very deadly disease.

It spreads easily, it spreads through the air.

It spreads in workplaces.

Staying home will stop the spread.

But some workers can’t stay at home.

Read more
Share

Backbone of Our Movement: Glen

Glen
HSR at the Australian Services Union (Vic-Tas)

How long have you been a union member?

All my working life.

Why did you join the union?

It’s how I was raised. Coming from a working- class family it’s the way it was.

Read more
Share

OHS Matters: History of Industrial Manslaughter in Victoria, Part 2

 

Last edition we looked at the unions’ struggle to achieve industrial manslaughter (IM) laws in Victoria, and how, in 2017 under Luke Hilakari as Secretary, the VTHC relaunched the campaign for these laws.

Since the earlier campaign, two other jurisdictions, the ACT and Queensland had introduced IM laws - but neither had had any successful prosecutions. So we wanted better laws, laws which would ‘work’.

Read more
Share

OHS Matters: History of Industrial Manslaughter in Victoria, Part 1

 

 

Why have we wanted and campaigned for industrial manslaughter laws in Victoria?

On a simple level it’s a desire for justice. When a family loses a loved one in a preventable workplace incident only to see the employer, who too often broke the law, prosecuted only to avoid paying the fine by going into receivership it hits them in the guts. Even when large corporations do end up paying the fine, that fine is like a slap on the wrist, and they can even insure themselves against it. Those companies, those employers don’t really pay; no-one seems to care. Yet if someone kills another person with a drunken punch or as a result of reckless driving, that individual is sent to jail.

Read more
Share

Backbone of Our Movement: Joel

 

Joel, Delegate for the Rail Tram and Bus Union

How long have you been a union member?

Since I commenced my first job at 15 – 11 years now.

Why did you join the union?

I’ve made signing up to the union and becoming active a priority at every job I’ve started at. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in a family where everyone who has joined the workforce has been a union member. It’s just been the done thing.

Read more
Share

Analysis: Recession is a Reason to Fight

Australia is now firmly in the throes of a recession, as is the rest of the world. Unemployment is at levels not seen since the Great Depression. Entire industries have been destroyed, and many companies will close their doors and simply will not be seen again.

Previous editions of this Bulletin have argued that the economic crisis, though catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic, was in the makings well before the first COVID case emerged in December 2019. This was evidenced by the crisis in retail, with some 169 closures of outlets in January 2020, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald in the same month. Those closures and the impact of the retail crisis emerged before the full impact of low sales over the Christmas and holiday period would be realised. In January 2020, these were figures not seen in several decades.

Read more
Share

Backbone of Our Movement: Diarmaid

 

Diarmaid, NTEU
Delegate

How long have you been a union member?

6 years.

Why did you join the union?

As an immigrant, I could see how Australia had better working conditions in higher education compared to other countries I previously worked in. Better pay, more super contributions, long service leave, and other benefits. I recognised that this was the result of the work of my union, the NTEU.

Going back decades, the members had been pushing for better conditions, and now I had the chance to benefit from their victories. So I felt I needed to pay them back. Furthermore, I wanted to be able to pass those benefits onto the future workers in my sector. It’s our responsibility, I believe, to honour the struggle of those who came before us, and pass it on to those who will come after us. Unions are a way to achieve this.

Read more
Share

OHS Matters: COVID-19 and Abattoirs

 

In the past week there has been an increase in alarm with the number of new COVID-19 infections growing in Victoria in numbers not seen since mid-March.  The numbers are still extremely low if we look at other countries – for example the hotspot councils of Moreland and Hume had 26 and 51 active cases respectively early last week. However, the number of new infections in the state increased by 75 on Sunday June 28, the highest since the peak in April, illustrating we cannot be complacent. 

Read more
Share

Analysis: The Movement for Black Lives is Different this Time

This analysis comes to us from Haley Pessin, member of the Afrosocialist and Socialists of Color Caucus of the Democratic Socialists of America and a rank and file member of 1199 SEIU. She organizes with the group Legal Workers Rank & File in New York Cvity.

 

Late May and early June saw the biggest wave of mass rebellion in the United States since the 1960s. Protests erupted in every major city and in all fifty states, demanding an end to racist police brutality. The character of these uprisings has been less like protests and more like rebellions, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets, blocking highways, and burning and destroying police cars along with other symbols of economic and racial oppression. At the time of writing, in New York City alone 47 police cars have been damaged or burned.1 More than 11,000 people have been arrested across the country.2 And, in Washington DC, protests outside the White House temporarily forced Trump to flee to his bunker—allegedly to “inspect” it and not in abject fear of the riots.3

Read more
Share

Analysis: Cabin Fever: Hope on the Edge of Despair at YYZ

 

This edition’s feature article comes from our comrades, the workers at Toronto International Airport, who have been fighting an industrial battle in light of the devastation of their workplace because of the COVID-19 pandemic

 

Read more
Share