‘Don’t threaten workers’, unions warn employers ahead of mega rally

Ahead of what is expected to be one of the largest political rallies in Melbourne’s history, Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Luke Hilakari has warned employers not to interfere with the democratic right of all Australians to protest.

Working people from around the state will join forces to take to the streets and protest rising inequality, falling wages, insecure work and some of the most restrictive industrial laws in the world.

Expert legal advice provided by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers also confirms that employees have the right to participate in lawful activities organised by their union, and are entitled to request annual leave to attend the rally. Refusing a leave request may amount to adverse action under the Fair Work Act, potentially leaving corporate employers liable for a fine of up to $63,000 per contravention.

Melbourne’s rally, starting at Victorian Trades Hall in Carlton at 10.30am on Tuesday 23 October, promises to be one of the largest rallies the country has ever seen.

A resolution was passed by the Trades Hall Executive ahead of the rally, warning that employers who try to force workers not to attend the rally face the prospect of public shaming and community boycotts, saying “One of the cornerstones of Australian democracy is the right for individuals and working families to rally in support of fairer working conditions and better living standards.”


Quotes attributable to Luke Hilakari, Secretary Victorian Trades Hall Council:

“The Morrison Government and their business lobby friends know that when workers stand together, we are unbreakable. We can change the rules and get a fairer deal for working people, but it won’t happen by sitting around waiting for permission from the very people who conspire to keep our wages low in the first place.”

“Employers are already threatening workers, and this is not on. Working people have a right to take democratic action to secure their future. We will not be afraid of calling out those who seek to intimidate Australian workers.”

“Australia needs a pay rise, and we’re going out to get it on Tuesday.”

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