Analysis: Why Workers Should Support the Free Assange Campaign

Last month in London’s Old Bailey court, Judge Vanessa Baraitser ruled that Julian Assange would not be extradited to the USA to face 17 charges of espionage and 1 of computer hacking with sentences totalling 175 years imprisonment.

Nonetheless, Julian is being kept without charge in the notorious Belmarsh Prison,  awaiting an appeal by the US Government to the ruling. The appeal has been lodged and will likely take place in May this year. Julian’s union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) welcomed the decision but expressed concerns that the extradition was only granted on medical grounds and did nothing to question the perceived right of the USA to implement their laws against journalists anywhere in the world.

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Backbone of Our Movement: Giles Fielke

Giles Fielke photo

Giles Fielke

NTEU Delegate

How long have you been a union member?

Since I was a teenager, working at my local Safeway supermarket (who today are best represented by RAFFWU, and not the SDA ‘shoppies’, which I suppose I was a member of at the time).

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OHS Matters: Racial Abuse in the Workplace Part 2

In the last edition of the Workers’ Solidarity Bulletin, we looked at the ugly face of racism in the workplace, and in sport in particular. The column was sparked by a letter to The Age following a nasty incident during an Australia-India cricket match.

In this edition we revisit the topic after the AFL’s ‘Do Better’ report was leaked to the press, an Independent review into Collingwood Football Club’s responses to Incidents of Racism and Cultural Safety in the Workplace. The report, commissioned by the club, was authored by University of Technology Sydney’s distinguished professor, Yuwaalaraay woman Larissa Behrendt and Professor Lindon Coombes. The club had decided from the start that it would make the report public, yet despite having received it in mid-December of last year, there was no mention of it for over seven weeks– but surely its findings could not have come as a shock.

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Analysis: The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 30 Years On

The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) was initiated in 1987 ‘in response to a growing public concern that deaths of Aboriginal people in custody were too common and public explanations too evasive to discount the possibility that foul play was a factor’. Indigenous organisations including Aboriginal Legal Services and the Committee to Defend Black Rights, as well as the families of those who died in custody, agitated for the establishment of an investigation into these deaths through a public campaign and political lobbying. The Royal Commission finalised and released its findings by way of a report thirty years ago, in 1991. This report found that Indigenous people faced significant disadvantage resulting in increased contact with the criminal justice system, and that the deaths investigated by the RCIADIC were not found to be the result of deliberate violence or brutality, but were instead the result of systemic failings to uphold a duty of care to Indigenous people in custody.

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OHS Matters: Racial Abuse in the Workplace

“It is time to prevent workplace abuse on the pitch.

Tim Paine was at work on that cricket pitch. If you abuse people at work, you will be summoned to a formal investigation. Sometimes you are demoted or lose your job. At a minimum, you end up with a formal warning. Being “under pressure’ is not a defence.

Paine is paid millions to play sport. That is a privilege that most workers never enjoy. If he cannot perform the inherent requirements of his job without abusing others, then why is he there? It is time WorkSafe investigated Cricket Australia. What effort, if any, is that employer making to prevent workplace abuse?”

Letter from union comrade Cindy O’Connor, printed in The Age recently.

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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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