Analysis: Justice For Tanya Day

Our mother was a proud, staunch Yorta Yorta woman. She was a doting mother, grandmother and Aunty. She was and will be remembered for her strength, resilience, beauty, kind heart and of course her smile, fashion sense, deadly feeds and her love of the colour pink.

We have spent close to three years fighting for justice for the death of our mum. On 27 August, we were told that the police officers involved in her death avoided prosecution. This is despite the coroner finding that mum’s death was preventable and that the police officers failed to take proper care of mum’s safety, security, health and welfare.

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OHS Matters: Toilet Access During COVID-19

COVID-19 – and the measures workplaces are having to take in seeking to minimise the risk of workers contracting the disease – is continuing to have consequences, sometimes unforeseen ones. The VTHC gets some interesting questions from workers – here’s one:

“I’m a truck driver and make deliveries to, and pick up containers from, various companies and locations. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, I am constantly getting denied access to toilets. Previously there were no problems with me using their facilities. Is this legal? Can these companies deny me access to the toilets when I’m doing deliveries? On one occasion recently three clients in a row wouldn’t allow me to use their facilities, and this created a real problem for me.”

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Backbone of Our Movement: Manolya Moustafa

 

Manolya Moustafa
Australian Education Union, Sub-branch President (delegate)

How long have you been a union member?

Since 2005.

Why did you join the union?

Workers are an exploited and oppressed class, the only way to fight for our rights and win gains is by working together and organising as a collective. A union is a basic starting point for workers work together and fight for our rights.

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Analysis: Lockdown Fatigue

The media and the politicians are telling us that many of us in Melbourne, Victoria are experiencing lockdown fatigue. That the people that are defying the lockdown laws are crazy or antisocial. They are telling us to hang in there, that we are all in this together.

There is another way to understand this fatigue.

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OHS Matters: Explosion in Lebanon – could it happen here?

On the evening of August 4, a fire in what is believed to be a fireworks factory, led to a small explosion in the port area of Beirut, Lebanon. Subsequently there was a massive explosion of a warehouse holding 2,700 metric tonnes of ammonium nitrate.

Ammonium nitrate is a common fertilizing agent - and is also the main ingredient in some types of explosives. The chemical had been stored in the warehouse since 2014 when it had been seized from a Russian cargo ship. It has been reported that Lebanese customs officials wrote letters to the judiciary at least six times from 2014 to 2017, seeking guidance on how to dispose of the highly combustible material – reportedly not getting any response. Because of the nature of the materials they were unable to act. Other reports are that customs officials did not follow proper procedures: they simply kept resending the same letters in response to the judge’s request for more information.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Dani

DaniMartin_Print.jpg

Dani
RTBU, Women’s Advocate

How long have you been a union member?

Three years.

Why did you join the union?

I honestly didn’t know much about unions before I started in public transport. I joined initially because I knew that it would mean that I would have support if I needed it.

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OHS Matters: COVID-19 (again!) What are the Implications for Employers?

 

We have heard the Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, say that at one stage at least, 80 per cent of newly identified COVID-19 infections came from workplaces.

During Stage 4 all non-essential businesses in metropolitan Melbourne have been closed – and those that are still operating must have implemented a COVIDSafe plan by midnight August 7. In addition, workers needing to move outside their 5km from home, or who need to be out between 8pm and 5am must also have Permitted Worker Permits. These are measures being taken by the government to control Victoria’s ‘second’ and more serious wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Apart from the drastic financial effects of these measures on workers and employers/businesses, - what implications are there for employers if a worker contracts COVID-19 in the course of their employment?

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Analysis: The Bosses are Attacking, We Must Fight Back

 

In the last fortnight, the franchise industry has called for the scrapping of weekend and evening penalty rates. They have said that the COVID-19 pandemic can be used to “shift the paradigm” on industrial relations.

Also in the last fortnight, the High Court of Australia ruled against giving part time and shift workers sick leave based on the number of hours worked, versus the number of days worked. It means that workers working 8 hour days, and workers working 12 hour days, accrue the same amount of sick leave. Cadbury argued that a “normal day” was 7.6 hours, and every worker could accrue no more than 10 x 7.6 hour days in sick leave. This was a battle fought by Cadbury workers, represented by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. The AMWU won this fight in the Federal Court. But Cadbury took the fight higher. The new decision will save employers billions of dollars in our wages, and costs us billions of dollars in lost wages.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Emma Bagg

Emma Bagg
Organiser, staff delegate and staff HSR
ASU Vic-Tas Branch

 

How long have you been a union member?

23 years.

Why did you join the union?

I came from a working-class family, but we never really talked about the union movement, but my family always talked about fighting for workers’ rights.

When I was 15 and working in hospitality, I always questioned my rights and entitlements for myself and other staff. However, it was not until I was 20 and I started work at the Colac Abattoirs and I joined the AMIEU as I realised the importance of being part of a collective and standing together.

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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.

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