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In this issue we speak to a longtime member of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, get a rundown on the recent changes to laws regulating the use of new industrial chemicals in Australia and our comrades at the Toronto Airport Workers Council tell us about their experiences organizing in an industry turned upside down by the pandemic. Read on for more.

Questions? Comments? Email us at:

we.are.workers.solidarity@gmail.com

 

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Michael Fikaris
@fikarisart
 
 

 

 

Backbone of our Movement

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"Nurses were leaving nursing work as they were earning more money working in shops. It wasn’t enough to pay the rent!"

 
 
 
 

OHS Matters

 

“Companies will self-determine whether new chemicals should be exempted, reported or assessed.”

 
 
 

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.

 

 

   

  

The Worker’s Solidarity Bulletin is a living document written to reflect what is happening within the labour movement, here in Australia and across the world. The producers of this publication, and participants in Workers Solidarity more broadly, don’t necessarily endorse or agree with all of the views in this publication. This is a place for debate and discussion.

See something you disagree with? Not seeing something you think we should talk about? 

Shoot us a line with your thoughts at
we.are.workers.solidarity@gmail.com

 


 

Workers In Struggle

 

SDA fails to act in the best interests of a member

The Fair Work Commission has rebuked the SDA over its poor management of a conflict of interest. The SDA failed to bring an unfair dismissal claim, or to advise the worker in question that they were not intending to bring the claim. The decision was made by the SDA in order to ensure the finalisation of redundancies before a creditors meeting to assist in finalising the sale of Harris Scarfe. The FWC said the union “had a clear conflict of interest” to act in the best interests of all remaining
Harris Scarfe workers by ensuring the sale of the business, and the individual worker
whose unfair dismissal claim was not made. Deputy President Saunders said - “Mr Griffin did nothing, and worse still, did not inform [the member] that the SDA has made a deliberate decision, contrary to her interests.” The FWC has granted the worker an extension to submit her unfair dismissal claim - hopefully with better representation than the SDA.

NTEU - University of Melbourne

Workers at the University of Melbourne have rejected a variation to their Enterprise Agreement. Over 8000 voted on the proposal which would have cut pay by 2.2% and reduce redundancy entitlements. 5,190 workers rejected the proposal. University bosses claim that without the pay cut, more workers will have to lose their jobs. University workers pointed out that the top 20 executives at the University of Melbourne “are on $20 million collectively”.

Hospo Workers - Hotel Northbridge, Perth

A worker at the Hotel Northbridge quit after her boss refused to pay 14 hours overtime she had worked doing extra cleaning in line with COVID-19 precautions. The employer demanded a justification of the overtime claim, and when provided with one replied “Get prepared to restructure the food and beverage team or temporarily shut down.” The worker in question quit, and four of her colleagues quit in solidarity. Subsequently, the negative publicity has chased the venue off social media. At the time of writing, it is unclear if the owed overtime is being pursued through other avenues or if it has subsequently been paid.

May 1 Movement/AMWU/ASU/RTBU/MUA - Bus Privatisation in NSW

While the Berejiklian government has delayed their controversial plan to privatise the state’s bus services, the May 1 Movement has brought together a coalition of unions including the RTBU, AMWU and MUA to fight against privatisation - whenever it happens. David Babineau the State Secretary of the RTBU said “Unless the decision to privatise is reversed, commuters are going to find their local bus services and stops are on the chopping block in the very near future.” The May 1 Movement called a car convoy for 18 June which saw dozens of cars with flags and horns at Parliament House, as well as protests in front of MPs offices across Sydney.

ILWU ports shut down - Black Lives Matter

The ILWU dedicated a west-coast stopwork meeting and day of action to the Black Lives Matter movement. On June 19th, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union shut down 29 ports on the west coast of the USA in solidarity with the ongoing protests following the murder of George Floyd. The ILWU has a radical, antiracist and militant history. It was one of the first unions in the USA to desegregate work gangs, protested against the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII, protested the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has refused to unload an Israeli-owned ship to protest the killing of Palestinians, and has previously shut down ports over murders committed by the police.

Healthcare workers (CGT) - France

French healthcare workers went out on strike on June 16. 18,000 workers and their supporters demonstrated in Paris, with thousands marching in other large centres across the country. Unions have been critical of the government’s austerity policies since before the COVID-19 pandemic, but with highly positive public sentiment towards healthcare workers, workers mobilised to call for increased wages and a freeze on hospital closures and cuts to health services. One worker commented: “The French have shown their solidarity by banging on pots and pans and lighting candles but we have to go beyond that and remind the government that they need to raise wages.”

 

 

What's On

 

Workers Solidarity General Meeting
Online via Zoom
Next meeting: Thursday 2nd July, 18:00.

Does Australia Need Independence from the U.S.A?
Online Zoom forum and discussion about the economic, political and military relationship between Australia and the U.S.A Hosted by Spirit of Eureka
Saturday 4th July 16:00 - 17:30.

Oppose Imperialism! No to U.S. Wars and Interventions!
US Independence Day Rally
Organised by Spirit of Eureka
Saturday 4th July 12pm, Outside the US Consulate, St Kilda road, Melbourne.

Defend the Right to Protest - Free the Refugees
Join the protest outside the front of court calling to defend the right to protest and to free the refugees who have been held in detention for 7 years.The protest will start from 8am, the court case (a mention) is scheduled for 9.30am.
Organised by Refugee Action Collective (Victoria)
Thursday 6th August 8:30am
See Facebook event for more details.

Car Protests are Safe, Detention Centres are Not
Online petition and campaign
Organised by Refugee Action Collective (RAC) VIC
Click here to sign the petition

Donate to help Richie from the CFMEU pay his unfair ABCC fine
Fundraiser organised by Victorian Trades Hall Council
Click here for more

3CR Community Radio Annual Station Appeal
Fundraising / subscriber campaign
June 2020
Click here to donate

 

  

 

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Workers Solidarity acknowledges that our activities take place on Aboriginal Land.

We recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.

 
 
 
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