Backbone of Our Movement: Lourdes Garcia Larqué

 

Lourdes Garcia Larqué
Rank and file member and sub-branch Women’s Officer of the AEU, Victoria

How long have you been a union member?

I have been an AEU member since I was a student-teacher in 2013, before that I have also been a union organiser in what is now the United Workers Union

Why did you join the union?

Since I moved to Australia from Mexico I was able to see how organised workers campaigned for health and safety in industries that back in my country are incredibly dangerous or precarious like construction, mining or sanitation. Years ago, I worked at what used to be the Miscellaneous Worker Union, campaigning with the cleaners. As soon as I became a teacher I just knew I had to be a union member.

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OHS Matters: Hazardous Manual Handling

“I am almost 63 years old and was wondering what weight an employer can ask me to lift on a regular daily basis? I’m working in a job where the employer says that 20 kgs is the “standard weight”. But in reality we’re often told to lift and carry bags that are closer to 25 kgs, and this can be up to 50 times a day. I feel this is too heavy for someone my age. After I raised this, the site supervisor gave us a demonstration on safe lifting techniques, and put some posters up in the lunchroom.”

 

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Analysis: West Gate Bridge Tragedy - 50 Years On

At 11.50am on October 15 1970, a span of the West Gate Bridge, then under construction, collapsed. 2000 tonnes of steel fell 45 metres - 35 workers were killed, 17 were injured. Some ‘rode’ the bridge down and, miraculously, survived. All those who survived were traumatised, as were many people living in the working-class suburbs surrounding it.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Iqra Ahad

Iqra Ahad
NTEU Delegate

How long have you been a union member?

6 years.

Why did you join the union?

When I joined the union it was for support, advice and representation but I continue to be a union member to have the power to negotiate for more favourable working conditions and other benefits collectively.

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OHS Matters: Can My Boss Make Me Clean The Toilet?

This is a query which came into the VTHC’s ‘Ask Renata’ this week:

“I work as a food packer at a food packing company based in Melbourne. Our work place has never had a cleaner, and we never have clean toilets. Someone complained to our boss that the toilet was not clean. So today he called everyone to a meeting and said he wants everyone to take turns to clean the toilets. Can you advise me: Can I say NO to him?? and where do I stand on this issue???

PS. Our workplace has no Union.”

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OHS Matters: Why Consultation is Even More Important Today

One of the seemingly hardest duties for many employers to comply with is the duty to consult with elected health and safety representatives (HSRs). This is a legal duty under the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 – and has been a legal duty since 1985 when workers were given the right to elect representatives, and these representatives were given rights and powers.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Kirsty Davies

Kirsty Davies
Health Workers Union
Rank and File, Workplace HSR

How long have you been a union member?

Since 2005.

Why did you join the union?

I was raised by union parents who had always belonged to their unions. When in permanent work, I have always joined. I believe it is an important example to set for staff particularly now as I am in a head chef role. I like to know that I will have support if I need it, an organisation that can represent myself and my workmates if I am unable do so myself

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Analysis: Report From the Global Trade Union Assembly

The Global Trade Union Assembly (GTUA), “Pandemic and Beyond: Workers Organising for a Public Future”, which took place over seven events from July to September, was convened by Trade Unions for Energy Democracy and over fifty unions and union federations from around the world. Over 1000 unionists participated. Trade Unions for Energy Democracy is an alliance of unions, global union federations, national bodies, and other worker organisations from around the world advocating democratisation and public ownership of energy generation, and a shift to renewable energy and a sustainable economy.

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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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