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The workers strike back

Everybody including the OECD is talking about the cost of living crisis being caused by corporate profiteering at the expense of workers' wages. Workers in Australian need a pay rise - and union members are walking the walk to make it happen. 

Australian Ballet

Australian Ballet dancers are considering strike action in response to protracted negotiations over pay. “We’ve had dancers who’ve had to cancel their health insurance. We have dancers who can’t afford groceries, they’re living off tuna and rice … it’s not ideal in a profession where you use your body so much and you’re expected to perform at an elite level” said one dancer. Dancers in union are asking for your support on twitter.  

 

Cleanaway Geelong

Garbage disposal workers at Cleanaway went on strike for for 48 hours in May, affecting thousands of households in the Greater Geelong City Council, Surf Coast Shire and Golden Plains Shire Council areas, and many businesses in Geelong. Waste workers have faced persistent attacks to pay and conditions by Cleanaway management across the country. With the greatest impact of the strikes expected in Geelong CBD and Greater Geelong City, the TWU is calling on Greater Geelong City Council to step up and take an active role in resolving the dispute with Cleanaway.

TWU Vic/Tas Assistant Secretary Mem Suleyman said: “The Greater Geelong City Council should be ashamed – in 2020 alone council fat cats earned 6.7 million dollars yet can’t make decisions in the best interests of local constituents. Instead, they have engaged a rogue company like Cleanaway who have a long track record of attacking worker conditions and wages, and when these essential workers are off the job to fight for a fair deal, they are silent. If the silence continues, further strikes are not ruled out and the streets of Geelong can end up like Naples”.

Brotherhood of St Laurence

Australian Services Union members at Melbourne-based not-for-profit the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) stopped work last week for a better enterprise agreement. The agreement covers more than 1100 staff, about 80 per cent women, working across NDIS, aged care, early childhood, migrant services, financial education, research and admin. After over a year of negotiations, Brotherhood of St Laurence has yet to offer any significant improvements on the new enterprise agreement, including above-inflation pay rises for workers. In response, members of the union have been engaging in protected industrial action, stop work meetings, and other activities. Last week, some members even held a powerful picket outside a BSL board meeting—standing up to high-level executives and speaking out for better conditions after BSL did not listen for the last 12 months and left them no choice!

Universities

Staff at Universities across Australia are taking action in response to persistent wage theft in the sector. On 8 June Monash University staff walked off the job for fair pay and conditions. Despite being public institutions, unis today are run like big corporations, driven ruthlessly by revenue growth & cost cutting. Whilst VCs earn obscenely fat pay checks, the corporate university of today can only function on the back of the unpaid labour of thousands of casual staff.

Visy Shepparton

Visy workers are in their 21st week of rolling strike action in Shepparton. You can read about their campaign here and donate to their strike fund here

Council workers

Darebin Council workers, members of the Australian Services Union, started an industrial campaign in early May for a pay rise. The City of Darebin needs to offer its employees a fair deal, and let them get back on the job. Likewise Melton ASU members will vote NO to an Enterprise Agreement that leaves their pay way behind other growth-area councils.

Said one proud ASU member“Some might think of us as working FOR this community, but we are OF this community. We live and work here. And when we suffer, our community suffers. When our staff leave, our community lose the services and supports that they rely on and that they deserve.”

Melbourne Zoo

Animal care workers walked off the job at Melbourne Zoo in late May, in the first strike at Zoos Victoria for over a decade. UWU members are negotiating for improvements to their EBA and are fighting for some cost of living allowances to take the sting out of rising inflation. Members at Zoos Victoria love their job and the animals they care for. They go above and beyond to make sure animals are well looked after and visitors experience a great day at the zoos but need to make sure their pay package keeps up with the rising cost of living. 

Sovereign Hill

Sovereign Hill workers are heading to the barricades, with MEAA members pushing for a higher pay rise in line with inflation, which is 6.8 per cent, the reinstatement of weekend penalty rates and a cap on the use of voluntary labour.  Management are putting an agreement to vote, but more than 82 per cent of union members have voted in favour of a strike of up to 24 hours unless management agrees to demands, which include an increased pay rise offer.
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