Unions

Left contests union elections at Sydney Uni

Union branch elections at Sydney University are seeing a political contest over strategy, led by the left activist network, Union Action.

Port workers walk off for the right to strike

Four hundred unionists in Sydney led a boisterous march on the bosses’ court, the Fair Work Commission on 29 May, demanding the right to strike—and pledging to fight for it.

Labor must deliver right to strike, says union leader

Victorian CFMEU Secretary John Setka has called on Bill Shorten and Labor to lift restrictions on the right to strike and union right of entry should they win the next election.

Ark Tribe, unionist who defied the ABCC

Unionists around the country have paid tribute to Ark Tribe, a construction worker and CFMEU member who took on the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). He died unexpectedly in late May.

Call for amnesty for migrant workers: ‘Our campaign is about dignity’

Solidarity's Chris Breen spoke to Shawfikul Islam, a Rohingya refugee and National Union of Workers organiser in Melbourne, about the union’s organising amongst farm workers and its call for an amnesty for migrant workers in the industry.

Fighting Casualisation—union power and the right to strike

Casualisation and insecure work is a growing problem, writes Amy Thomas. Union organising and industrial action have defeated it before, and can do so again.

UNSW staff strike against casualisation and restructuring

Last Wednesday NTEU members at UNSW took part in a successful 24-hour strike. Union demands focus on job security in the face of a series of restructures at UNSW as part of its “Strategy 2025”.

120,000 stop work in Melbourne to Change the Rules

Around 120,000 workers took over the streets of Melbourne on 9 May in an awesome display of working class power.

Esso bosses’ tactics show need to break the rules

Workers at Esso in Gippsland, Victoria have been on the picket line for over 320 days.

How much would a Labor government change the rules at work?

The modest scope of changes Labor wants to make to workplace laws is starting to become clear. The party’s official draft platform, released in preparation for its national conference in July, shows what to expect.

Laws against strike action hit MUA at Patrick

Maintenance workers at Port Botany are coming up against the anti-union Fair Work Commission and anti-strike laws in their bargaining campaign.

Teachers say no to NAPLAN, and no to Gonski’s testing tool

NAPLAN does not have many friends left, but some of its critics just want more relentless testing. But NAPLAN must be replaced with greater time and respect for teachers, and fully funded public schools, rather than with more tests.

Hutchison continues to put lives at risk as safety dispute escalates at Port Botany

Members of the MUA at Hutchison Ports Australia, Port Botany are currently staring down legal threats of prosecution for “illegal industrial action”, following a devastating incident on Thursday 19 April.

Victorian union delegates ready to fight—but what about the right to strike?

Two thousand unionists filled Melbourne Town Hall and spilled out onto Swanston Street for the “Change the Rules” delegates meeting on 17 April.

Sydney meeting pushes for right to strike campaign

Just over 100 people packed into the Maritime Union’s Sydney office on 14 April to discuss the right to strike.

Bosses use termination threat to force Oaky North miners back to work

Workers at Glencore’s Oaky North mine have voted 70 per cent in favour of a deal they’d rejected in January by over 90 per cent.

Defending the union—the war on the waterfront 20 years on

Twenty years ago, Patrick Stevedores sacked its entire workforce in the most serious union-busting effort in decades. Solidarity spoke to Bob Lee, a union delegate at the time, and Glen Woods, then Deputy Branch Secretary of the MUA in Sydney about what happened.

Right to strike must be at the centre of union campaign

The push for the right to strike to be at the centre of the ACTU’s “Change the Rules” campaign will have to come from rank-and-file union members and union branches.

Strike action stepped up as termination looms at Port Kembla terminal

Workers at the Port Kembla Coal Terminal have stepped up industrial action as Fair Work prepares its decision on whether to terminate their enterprise agreement.

Eight week strike beats back Australian Paper

Over 90 workers at Melbourne’s Australian Paper factory, members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, have pushed back their boss with a solid eight-week strike.

Sydney rail worker: ‘We should strike anyway, we should just walk off’

Solidarity spoke to a Sydney rail worker about the ban on strike action and why rail workers deserve a better agreement

Defy the ABCC—Fly union flags, not Eureka

The announcement of “more stringent” guidelines by the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), banning union signs and the Eureka flag from display on building sites has sparked a wave of flag-flying defiance.

Locked out Oaky North miners now facing termination

Workers at the Oaky Creek coal mine in Queensland are the latest to face termination of their enterprise agreement. The 175 workers have been locked out for over 220 days.

Rail workers should defy Fair Work and smash the pay cap

The industrial relations laws are broken and rigged against workers. The only way forward is to vote down the government’s offer. Rail workers should vote to strike on 8 March, when the ban runs out, call depot meetings to build support and prepare to break the laws.

Sydney’s rail strike banned—time to fight for the right to strike

Sydney's proposed 24-hour rail strike has been ruled illegal in a snap hearing of the “Fair Work Commission”. The decision exposes how far the law is now stacked against strike action.

Mass picket shuts down Webb Dock—and shows the need to defy the law

For three weeks in the lead up to Christmas a mass picket shut down operations at the Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) on Melbourne’s Webb Dock.

Back the Sydney rail workers’ strike

Rail workers are set to shut down Sydney’s transport system, voting to strike for 24 hours on Monday 29 January and impose days of overtime bans. They deserve everyone’s support.

Lockout at Port Kembla as company moves to terminate agreement

Around 100 workers and supporters have picketed the Port Kembla coal terminal, after 60 workers were locked out for four days starting at 7pm on Sunday. They are the latest to face bosses’ new tool bosses for slashing workers’ conditions—applying to terminate their Enterprise Agreement.

United strike action can stop Sydney bus privatisation

Although government plans to privatise Sydney’s buses have moved forward, the fight to keep the buses in public hands is not over.

NTEU maintains conditions, but fight to beat casualisation needed

After a semester punctuated by short strikes at Western Sydney University (WSU), UTS and the University of Sydney, both WSU and the University of Sydney have agreed to new enterprise bargaining deals, while Charles Sturt University moves to industrial action, and University of New South Wales (UNSW) members are set to kick off their campaign.

Third Sydney stop work rally as unions take on Turnbull

Thousands of workers in Sydney took illegal strike action on 16 November to rally against the Liberals’ anti-union laws.

University bosses out to strip pay and conditions

In the wake of the cancellation of the union agreement at Murdoch University by the Fair Work Commission, the NTEU is bargaining with confident and aggressive university managements.

Termination—bosses going for the ‘nuclear option’

Train drivers, coal miners, university staff, power workers and ice cream makers—just some of the workers who have fallen foul of a new employers’ tactic, cancelling enterprise bargaining agreements.

Our 24 hour strike shows there’s no UTS without us

UTS staff in the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) took the first serious step in our enterprise bargaining campaign with a successful 24 hour...

Sydney Uni EBA campaign could have won more—but the fight’s not over

The NTEU vote to settle at Sydney University does not mean the end of the fight; we still need to stop casualisation and protect courses, jobs and conditions.

Fight for jobs and pay at unis ramps up

The termination of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement at Murdoch University has sent a shock through the university system.

Despite leadership wobbles, bus drivers still fighting privatisation

Despite an aggressive state Liberal government, and court orders against industrial action, the fight by Sydney’s inner west bus drivers against privatisation is very much alive.

Construction union ends non-compliance with Turnbull’s Building Code

The CFMEU’s defiant stance against signing enterprise agreements that comply with the anti-union “Building Code” came to an abrupt end in August.

Latrobe Valley’s 1977 power strike

Workers in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley showed their clout when they shut down the power, writes Tom Orsag, but the support they needed to win was never mobilised.

NSW universities move towards strikes

Workers at three NSW universities are moving closer to strike action in the face of their managements’ attacks on working conditions and pay.

Bureau outlook stormy as staff step up industrial action

CPSU members at the Bureau of Meteorology have been ramping up industrial action.

How enterprise bargaining traded away our conditions

The acceptance of enterprise bargaining has seen union officials trade away rights like penalty rates, preparing the ground for the Fair Work decision, writes James Supple

NSW delegates meeting calls October stopwork rally

Union delegates in NSW have voted to hold a union-wide stopwork rally on Wednesday 18 October to step up the fight against the Turnbull government’s war on workers.

Construction strike takes the fight to Turnbull

Thousands walked off construction sites around the country on 20 June as the CFMEU construction union took its second national day of action against the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the new Construction Code.

Victory against casualisation at Sydney Uni

Casuals have had a significant win against outsourcing at Sydney University, as negotiations continue for a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

Back Sydney’s bus drivers, No to privatisation

Bus drivers in Sydney’s inner west are fighting privatisation, staging strike action in defiance of the Industrial Relations Commission.

Construction workers strike over industrial manslaughter

Thousands of Brisbane CFMEU construction workers took another day of illegal strike action on 23 May, marching off the job to Parliament House to demonstrate against the Labor state government delaying industrial manslaughter legislation.

Sydney Uni staff move towards strike action

A packed meeting of 250 NTEU members at Sydney University on 8 June voted to begin balloting for industrial action.

New unions join Victorian teachers in workplace refugee actions

Unionists across Victoria joined a week of action in support of refugees in early May. Inspired by the success of the Teachers for Refugees t-shirt actions in December, nurses, librarians, health workers and university staff all staged their own actions.

Opposition to new Year 9 NAPLAN hurdle

Parents and teachers are campaigning to reverse a NSW government decision to make NAPLAN scores a requirement for passing the HSC.

Enterprise bargaining and the un-Fair Work Act

The system of Enterprise Bargaining restricting lawful strike action to bargaining periods is at the core of laws that have removed the right to strike explains David Glanz

CFMEU workers’ defiance keeps union flags flying at Watpac

For three days, Watpac bosses in Brisbane tore down CFMEU flags and posters on building sites, but stop work action has kept the union flag flying on the job.

Inside the Fairfax strike: details from the frontline

As Fairfax journalists head back to work after seven days on strike, Solidarity spoke to a journalist at the Sydney Morning Herald on the impact of proposed job cuts and how the unlawful strike unfolded.

Patrick’s rank and file face down fines: Industrial action is key

A magnificent struggle at the Sydney Patrick docks, backed by community pickets, has stalled Patrick’s attempt to fragment the workforce and put cheap labour on the wharf.

Building unions prepare to defy code

The CFMEU construction union has pledged to fight new laws aimed at stripping workers’ conditions and pushing the union off building sites.

Wharfies stop work as Patrick tries union busting again

On 9 April, wharfies and activists held a three-hour blockade of the Patrick terminal at Port Botany in Sydney, to protest the latest attempt at union busting on the waterfront. Then, in a significant escalation, on Thursday 20 April, workers refused to load a train and began an almost 24 hour sit-in.

Defy the law to defend penalty rates and fight Turnbull

New ACTU leader Sally McManus gave heart to unionists everywhere when said that workers were right to break unfair laws. This is exactly what we will we need to do to stop the attack on penalty rates, scrap the ABCC and win basic union rights.

‘Fair Work Commission’ process designed to benefit the bosses

The Fair Work Commission’s cut to penalty rates is the latest in a long line of Arbitration Commission decisions attacking workers.

Construction workers defy the law to protest Turnbull’s war on workers

Thousands of construction workers defied the law to join stopwork rallies around the country on 9 March. This is the kind of action needed across the union movement to fight Turnbull’s war on workers.

Penalty rates fightback needed after savage cuts

Workers are seething after the industrial umpire slashed penalty rates for some of the lowest paid workers in the country. An immediate union response can stop the cuts.

Unions prepare to resist as return of ABCC speeds up

Construction unions are gearing up for a fight, after the Senate approved changes to speed up the re-introduction of the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission.

NSW disability workers strike against privatisation

NSW disability support workers have defied a legal order to strike for 24 hours, in a bid to halt the state government’s callous privatisation push.

Centrelink workers join fight against robo debt

Workers at Centrelink are opposing the scandalous “robo-debt” collection process, despite bullying and the threats of action under their Code of Conduct. Whistleblowers have fed crucial information about the scheme to the media.

Relief at CUB but boycott campaign no model

In December, electricians and fitters at the Carlton and United Breweries, known as the “CUB 55”, won a return to work on their previous wages and similar conditions.

Murdoch Uni’s brazen assault on staff

As the holiday wind down began last December, management at Murdoch University in Western Australia delivered a nasty Christmas surprise that could have drastic implications for university workers across the country.

Josh Cullinan: ‘We needed a union for retail and fast food that would fight’

Solidarity spoke to Josh Cullinan, secretary of the newly-established Retail and Fast Food Workers Union

New union no short-cut to mobilising the rank-and-file

A fight against the SDA and employers is entirely justified. But setting up a new bureaucracy is no quick-fix for the terrible situation retail and fast food workers find themselves in. What is essential is struggle organised from the rank-and-file.

Three week picket humbles Harrison boss

After three weeks on strike, workers in Brookvale, North Sydney have won demands for union representation and a 2.5 per cent pay rise.

Anti-union ABCC is back, but where was the fight?

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) is set to return, with the aim of breaking the power of the construction unions.

Strikes not arbitration needed in public service

Workers in Immigration and Border Protection are headed to compulsory arbitration, after three years of bargaining across the federal public sector where there government has refused to even negotiate.

Shut down production to win CUB 55 jobs

Workers are in their fourth month of picketing outside the brewery for reinstatement at their original wages and conditions.

ACTU insider blasts union focus on electoral campaigns

Having left the ACTU, Tim Lyons, its former assistant secretary for six years, has served up a critique of the union leadership’s inability to do the basic organising necessary to re-build unions, in an article in the September issue of Meanjin.

Public servants strike for 24 hours

Thousands of federal public servants were set to strike as Solidarity went to press, continuing the campaign against plans to cut working conditions in exchange for a miserable 2 per cent a year pay rise.

Striking back against the new economy at Deliveroo

Around 200 workers at Deliveroo in London stopped the imposition of a new unfair work contract in August after six days of strikes. Their victory showed that even workers in the new so-called “gig economy” can still organise collectively to fight back.

Polar Fresh pickets win gains in strike against Coles

After a decisive three day strike, workers at a cold storage warehouse for Coles in Melbourne have won wage rises and more secure jobs.

CUB workers offered jobs back with 65 per cent pay cut

Maintenance workers have been picketing the Carlton & United Breweries plant in Melbourne for the past seven weeks after they were sacked and offered their jobs back with a 65 per cent pay cut.

Pull out all stops as CPSU starts new round of strike action

CPSU members in the Immigration and Border Protection will kick off a new wave of industrial action starting Friday 12 August. Other public servants will join in, with members meetings in Tax and other agencies at end of August, culminating in a major APS-wide strike on 9 September, including rallies.

Time to reignite CPSU campaign

The severely weakened Coalition government should give confidence to unionists in the federal public service.

Construction union’s pay victory what Turnbull wants to stop

Construction workers in Victoria have secured a 5 per cent pay rise each year for three years in a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement signed with major builders.

The Big McRipOff—retail workers stripped of penalty rates

Australia’s biggest companies are raking in profits while keeping their workers some of the lowest paid in the country, signing agreements with the shoppies union, the SDA, that undermine penalty rates for weekends and shifts.

Turnbull backs big corporates over safety and truckies’ pay

In April the Liberals abolished the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT), in another gift to big business.

Sacked for being Australian? No sacked for being union

Since February, the maritime union’s ad “Sacked for Being Australian” has been playing on TV and radio, and is part of a marginal seat campaign saying the union is fighting for “Australians and Australian jobs’”. But the ad, and the nationalist ideas behind it, are counter-productive to building a real fight for jobs.

Patrick threatens wharfies with nationwide lockout

Patrick has threatened wharfies at its container terminals with an indefinite lockout in response to any further industrial action, as a bitter dispute over a new agreement drags on.

Left union leader on ABCC: ‘The Greens’ actions are helping the government’

Peter Simpson, Queensland ETU State Secretary spoke to Solidarity about The Greens’ decision to pass Senate voting reform, ignoring the risk that this gives Malcolm Turnbull his best chance yet of passing the ABCC legislation.

How unions fought back the ABCC last time

The ABCC has only ever set out to criminalise basic union organising on building sites.

Public service: we need more industrial action to win

Federal public servants staged their first 24-hour strike on 21 March, after nearly two years of insulting non-negotiable pay offers and attempts to strip conditions.

Nationalise to save steel jobs at Arrium

The jobs of 1100 workers at the Whyalla steelworks in South Australia are at risk after their employer, Arrium, went into administration in early April. Altogether 7000 jobs across the country are threatened if the company collapses.

Workers and the Second World War: Trotskyism and the 1945 Balmain docks dispute

As workers tired of wartime sacrifices, imposed with the aid of Communist Party union officials, Trotskyists in Balmain led a fight for democratic unionism, writes Tom Orsag

Refugee politics at work—how did teachers say ‘Let them Stay?’

When hundreds of photos of “Teachers say Let them Stay” actions at schools poured through social media in February, everyone fighting for justice for refugees stood taller and felt bolder.

Blackmail charges latest front in war on CFMEU

Two leading officials of the Victorian branch of the CFMEU Construction Division faced court in March on ludicrous charges of blackmail, for industrial action against Boral, a building supplies company.

Federal public servants strike again

Federal public sector workers will strike on 21 March and across Easter as the government continues to push attacks on conditions and pay offers below inflation.

Public servants set to strike again

Federal public sector workers are again ramping up their campaign to win better enterprise agreements. In February the largest agency, DHS, rejected a government-approved offer a second time, with an overwhelming 79.5 per cent voting “no”.

The Trade Union Royal Commission—a right royal union bashing

After 18 months and almost $46 million, the Trade Union Royal Commission, delivered its final report in December. The Liberals' loyal servant, Commissioner John Dyson Heydon, delivered volumes of excuses for the Coalition to continue its union bashing.

Don’t let the courts send these unionists to jail

At least 5000 Melbourne building workers joined a strike and rally in early December as CFMEU officials John Setka and Shaun Reardon faced court. The two Victorian Construction union officials face charges of blackmail under the Crimes Act.

Hard-fought wins at Hutchison, but clear victory means defying the law

The inspirational three-month long struggle by Hutchison wharfies in Sydney and Brisbane ended on 16 November, when Maritime Union members voted to accept a new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

NSW council mergers a Trojan horse for privatisation

About 600 people, including many council workers, rallied at Martin Place on 18 November to protest the NSW government’s drive to merge local councils across the state.

Organising the unemployed: Dole strikes and the 1930s Depression

Amid the mass unemployment of the Depression, the Communist Party did some of its best work, organising the fight for high dole payments and more jobs writes Tom Orsag

Are amalgamations the answer to union membership woes?

The talk of union amalgamations and the latest statistics on union membership have again raised the question of how to build unions.

Turnbull takes up Royal Commission anti-union agenda

Malcolm Turnbull wants to make industrial relations a “frontline issue” at the next election and will use the findings of Abbott’s Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption to go on a union bashing offensive.

Royal Commission bias now out in the open

The farce over Dyson Heydon’s links to the Liberal Party has exposed the Trade Union Royal Commission for what it always was—a political stunt aimed against Labor and the unions.

Protests continue over Hutchison sackings

Sacked wharfies are continuing to maintain a “community assembly” and protest camp outside terminals run by Hutchison Ports Australia in Sydney and Brisbane, demanding re-instatement.

The 1917 general strike

Geraldine Fela starts a Solidarity series on great strikes, with a look at the largest strike in Australian history, the 1917 general strike during the First World War

Hutchison workers defy company, courts, Abbott to fight for jobs

Ninety-seven wharfies are fighting for their jobs after being callously sacked by text message and email from Hutchison’s port terminals in Sydney and Brisbane on 6 August. But the workers are fighting the sackings with pickets in Sydney and Brisbane, ongoing as we go to press.

Strike action hits airports as CPSU campaign continues

Workers in Border Force, Immigration and Agriculture took stop work action again on 3 August, with rolling four-hour stoppages across the country. There was significant disruption to international airport queues, with management forced to move into frontline positions to cover for striking workers.

Defend Johnny Lomax: in court for winning a pay rise for workers

Lomax is an organiser with the building union, the CFMEU. He is charged with blackmail. His crime? Lomax put pressure on an employer to sign an Enterprise Agreement and pay higher wages, up from $17 an hour to $26 an hour.

Port workers fight sacking in new war on the waterfront

A ship was in but cranes were idle at the Hutchison container terminal at Sydney’s Port Botany on Friday morning while security guards lined up across the gate. Workers, many of whom had been sacked the night before, were gathered in a group across from the entrance while MUA flags and banners lined the fence.

Industrial action winning gains in public service

Industrial action in the federal public service has already forced concessions, as endless negotiations, which have rolled on in slow motion, continue.

Shorten and the AWU: The best friends Abbott and the bosses ever had

Shorten and the AWU’s model of unionism short-changed workers through doing favours for the bosses writes Mark Gillespie

Parliament house cleaners lay down their brooms

It was a moving moment. On International Cleaners Day, 41 striking cleaners walked out of Parliament House.

ACTU Congress launches ‘more of the same’ electoral campaign

A campaign to get Labor elected in 30 marginal seats was the centrepiece of the triannual ACTU Congress held in Melbourne in late May.

ACTU opposes turnbacks, detention on Manus and Nauru

A high point of the recent ACTU Congress was the adoption of a strong asylum seeker and refugee policy.

Is the working class still a force for change?

Mark Gillespie looks at the changing nature of the economy and whether this means the working class is disappearing

Public sector workers unite to strike against Abbott

Workers have staged federal public sector-wide strike action for the first time in a generation, with the first of a series of national half-day strikes on Thursday.

Public servants strike against Abbott’s cuts

Public servants are staging one-hour rolling strikes in a dozen agencies this month, as their union, the CPSU, ramps up what it says is the largest campaign of industrial action in 30 years.

Power sale fight must spark into strike campaign

Workers at the NSW state-owned energy network operators went on strike in a series of stoppages over a stalled workplace agreement in March. They...

March 4 rally shows appetite to fight Coalition’s cuts

Thousands of unionists took strike action against the Abbott government as part of the Australian Council of Trade Unions March 4 day of protest.

Liberals’ inquiry prepares attack on rights at work

The vicious overreach of the Coalition government is on display in the recently-announced Productivity Commission inquiry into workplace relations.

Sweet victory for flavour factory workers

Workers at the International Flavours and Fragrances factory in Dandenong have won a significant victory following a four-day occupation.

First charges as union Royal Commission does Abbott’s dirty work

Tony Abbott’s union Royal Commission has recommended charges against a series of union officials from the CFMEU, AWU and HSU.

CPSU members set for industrial action

Union members in the Department of Human Services (DHS) have overwhelmingly voted in favour of taking protected industrial action.

Federal public sector moves towards strikes

A huge fight is looming between workers across the Australian Public Service (APS) and the Abbott government.

ACTU plans another marginal seats campaign

The ACTU’S recently produced “Campaign Operational Plan: defending the living standards of working Australians” confims what we already knew. Firstly that the ACTU has given up campaigning to Bust the Budget; and secondly, that its campaign to defeat Abbott is overwhelmingly focussed on campaigning in marginal seats.

Trade union officials and the working class

Caitlin Doyle-Markwick looks at the role played by trade union officials in the unions, and why they are a naturally conservative force.

Ausreo workers win pay rise after ten week lockout

After a ten week lockout, striking workers at Ausreo’s Wetherill Park factory in western Sydney have won a victory against management. Ausreo supplies concrete...

NSW union delegates push to revive budget campaign

Unions NSW used a meeting of around 250 delegates yesterday to announce plans for a community-based state election campaign. But a group of rank-and-file...

ACTU industrial strategy won’t stop budget measures

The ACTU has announced what is says is an industrial strategy to fight the budget. The recognition that unions have the power to fight the budget through strike action to make bosses pay is welcome.

CPSU members in the firing line—time to fire back

The CPSU says that over 1000 workers in the Australian Public Service (APS) have joined the union in the past two weeks. Officials say...

NSW Catholic teachers walk off the job

NSW Catholic Teachers and support staff have taken strike action for the first time in over a decade.

Management tries on divide and rule at UTS

On 20 August academic staff at UTS will strike for 24-hours in their year-and-a-half fight for a decent agreement. One of the key battlegrounds is...

Rank-and-file action wins on class sizes

Teachers at a high school in Melbourne’s North West won a victory against our principal’s penny-pinching plan to over-fill classes. After months of excuses...

Are the unions too weak to beat Abbott?

In the face of Abbott’s budget attacks on workers’ living standards, James Supple looks at whether union decline prevents the movement fighting back

Bust the Budget rallies can mark the beginning of the fightback we need

Up to 20,000 marched across the country on Sunday 6 July to bust Abbott’s budget, as part of a national coordinated union day of protest.

Union activists start budget strike action push

Around 200 unionists have signed an open letter urging Unions NSW to convene a one-day stopwork rally against the Abbott budget. The signatories including delegates from the CFMEU, NTEU, CPSU, the Teachers Federation and a number of PSA central councillors.

No excuses for job and mail service cuts at Australia Post

Nine hundred jobs are going at Australia Post amid speculation letter delivery services could be reduced to three days a week by the end of the year.

NSW Teachers’ Federation wants to squander the fight

The 2014 Annual Conference of the New South Wales Teachers Federation fell only days before the Unions NSW Bust the Budget rally, and amid a wave of anger against Abbott’s budget.

Melbourne unions stop work to stop Abbott

Melbourne got a taste of the power that could stop Abbott when over 20,000 workers joined a weekday stopwork rally to bust the budget on 12 June.

Sydney unions begin moving to fight budget

Unionists from across Sydney gathered in a mass delegates meeting on 12 June to launch a major rally against the budget for Sunday 6 July.

Sydney Uni campaign for BDS has controversial start

On 4 June, a 130 strong meeting of the Sydney University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) voted 68-56 against a motion to devote branch time and resources to discuss BDS.

UTS staff strike back at management

National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at UTS picketed the campus as part of a 24-hour strike on 21 May.

Strike out Abbott’s budget

Tony Abbott’s budget has been met with outrage right across the community. We need to call on the ACTU to hold nationally coordinated industrial action until Abbott backs down.

Super-A-Mart workers win victory against low pay

Low paid workers at the Super-A-Mart warehouse in Somerton, Victoria have won their first union agreement following a six-week lockout.

Opposition on the home front: Strikes, conscription and the First World War

Solidarity examines the campaign against conscription and opposition to the First World War in Australia

How the unions brought down Howard

James Supple looks at the lessons from the union campaign that defeated Liberal Prime Minister John Howard in 2007

Axe flies at Qantas—but where’s the fight for jobs?

Tony Abbott has cheered on the announcement of 5000 job cuts at Qantas, salivating at the prospect of a company prepared to take on the unions. But neither Labor nor the union leaders are prepared to back the fight to save the jobs that is sorely needed.

WA workers face fines as Liberals begin war on CFMEU

The Abbott government has the CFMEU construction union in its sights.
march in march, abbott, solidarity

After March: Grassroots resistance and union action can drive out Abbott

Every week Tony Abbott’s government unveils new horror plans. To get him out, we need to build ongoing grassroots resistance.

Media corruption frenzy boosts Abbott’s attack on unions

Tony Abbott has seized upon reports alleging corruption in the construction union to press his case for a Royal Commission and a new round of union busting.

Media corruption frenzy boosts Abbott’s attack on unions

Tony Abbott has seized upon reports alleging corruption in the construction union to press his case for a Royal Commission and a new round of union busting.

Abbott has the unions in his sights

Tony Abbott deliberately portrayed himself as an industrial relations moderate before the election. But he is no moderate. On the second day of the new parliament he passed laws re-establishing the Howard-era anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Blacktown shows how to beat the Liberals

A campaign by unionists and the Blacktown community has scored a victory. Plans to sell off Blacktown City Council’s 24 child care centres were derailed, following protests by parents and child care workers, when three Liberal Councillors crossed the floor to support a motion to continue providing the services late last year.

Nationalise Holden: fight for every job

After 64 years manufacturing in Australia, and taking billions in government subsidies, General Motors Holden has announced its Australian factories will close in 2017. At least 3000 workers face the sack and up to 45,000 jobs in the auto component industry are at risk.

Cambodian strikers shot down by military

On Christmas eve, as Australian retailers like K-Mart and Big-W tried to maximise holiday sales profits, the Cambodian workers who make their clothes and footwear (as well as for Adidas, Levi Strauss, H&M, the Gap and Puma) were walking out on strike.

Nationalise Holden — we need a fight to save every job

After 64 years manufacturing cars in Australia, making billions in profit, and taking billions in government subsidies, General Motors Holden has announced its Australian...

Liberals’ arrogance and lies already on show

The Liberals’ lies and rule for the rich agenda are now on full display.

1913 Dublin lockout: a model of fighting unionism

One hundred years on Phil Chilton argues that the Dublin lockout was a model of effective, militant unionism—but it also showed the problem of the union bureaucracy

Abbott can’t hide his rule for the rich agenda

Tony Abbott has been trying to avoid the media in his first month as Prime Minister. But more and more of the Coalition’s real...

Strike one against Liberals’ school cuts in WA

Teachers, Education Assistants and parents are fighting back against the Liberal’s cuts to education in Western Australia. Over a thousand education assistants rallied outside state...

NT bus workers head resistance to public sector assault

Bus drivers in Darwin have held two 24-hour strikes in the last few weeks, with more that 40 drivers walking off the job to...

Low paid women workers: Abbott’s first target

Tony Abbott has quietly rushed to attack the wages of aged care workers and childcare workers. Predominantly women, they are some of the lowest...

Seven strikes seal key conditions at Sydney Uni

After seven days of strike action this year Sydney University staff have won a deal that reduces casualisation, protects and strengthens existing conditions and...

Sydney Uni staff determined to break pay cap

Sydney University staff will strike for three days in early October, after a decision at a members meeting of the National Tertiary Education Union...

Four hundred sacked miners vow to fight

Four hundred workers have been stood down by a Queensland coal mine, in a dispute the mining union says could become the “Patrick’s of...

The real roots of Labor’s crisis

The explanation for Labor's unpopularity this election goes deeper than recent history, writes James Supple Labor's primary vote this election sunk to 33.8 per cent,...

Refugee crisis a chance for Greens to build

Greens leader Christine Milne was a clear voice of opposition to Kevin Rudd’s appalling new refugee plan. Her angry press conference soon after Rudd’s...

Prepare for action as verdict looms for Bob Carnegie

A federal magistrates’ court verdict is overdue for Bob Carnegie, a union and community activist who faces 18 contempt of court charges. Justice Burnett...

Workers and the poor resist fuel price hike in Indonesia

Thousands of Indonesian students, unionists and workers took to the streets in anger in June as the government forced through major cuts to fuel...

Why the NTEU is right to back The Greens

In late June the NTEU National Council decided to support Greens candidates in the federal election for the first time. This is an important...

New report shows 457 claims are scaremongering

The Gillard government is continuing its campaign of scaremongering about 457 visa workers. It has announced new laws requiring mandatory “labour-market testing” for jobs...

The other foreign workers—exploitation, racism and international students

The collapse of Swan Cleaning has brought to light the exploitation of international students in Australia. Nearly 2500 workers, most of them international students,...

Send in the clowns: the politics of Bob Katter and Clive Palmer

David Glanz looks at what’s behind the rise of maverick Bob Katter’s Australia party, and mining billionaire Clive Palmer’s Palmer United Party On 13 May,...

“We want bread and roses too!”

100 years ago, in one of the most famous strikes in US history, women and migrant workers in Lawrence challenged oppression and proved their...

Canberra 457 workers’ dispute shows how to fight for rights

A group of 457 migrant visa workers in Canberra have shown how to stand up against exploitation and demand equal rights. The group of...

Right-wing Labor’s in freefall: so why are union leaders backing Gillard?

Union leaders are leading the campaign to support Julia Gillard as the leader of the Labor Party and in the federal election. James Supple...

How Thatcher waged war on the unions

It was no surprise that some of those most overjoyed when Margaret Thatcher died were those who fought her the hardest, and suffered the...

Gillard steps up scapegoating of 457s and foreign workers

Julia Gillard has added her voice to the false claims that migrants are to blame for unemployment by joining the scapegoating of 457 migrant...

Anti-457 campaign is an attack on foreign workers

Julia Gillard's new rhetoric about foreign workers has been welcomed by the unions, who have been leading a campaign for “Aussie jobs” against 457...

Facts tell the real story: 457 workers are not taking jobs

Julia Gillard and union leaders haven’t let the facts about 457 visa workers get in the way of their scare campaign. But the facts...

Blame the bosses, not foreign workers: Gillard steps up scapegoating of 457s and foreign...

It is now clearer than ever that the attacks on 457 visa workers are being used to whip up xenophobia against foreign workers. Last...

Sensis workers show how to fight for jobs

Workers at Sensis yesterday staged a 150-strong rally for jobs in Melbourne, demanding the company back down over its plans to cut 689 full-time...

Labor slashes parents’ payments, but lets the miners profit

After Julia Gillard’s announcement of a September 14 election date, the spectre of an Abbott government now looms large. Millions are fearful about what...

‘Aussie’ jobs or jobs for all? Fight the bosses, not 457 workers

The picket of Melbourne’s City West Water construction site, effectively demanding the sacking of 457 visa workers, shows just how dangerous and divisive the...

Hands off Bob! Unions take a stand for victimised trade unionist

“A spiteful attempt to intimidate every community activist who may in future wish to assist workers in obtaining justice”—this is how a leaflet distributed...

Victorian teachers strike three against Baillieu

FOR THE third time in 18 months, 30,000 Victorian teachers and school support staff showed their willingness to fight Victorian Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu’s...

Climate, jobs, single parents: put the heat on Gillard

Fires and record heat waves have once again driven the reality of climate change back into focus. The record temperatures across Australia have made...

Community protest says no to Campbell Newman’s cuts to aged care

New cuts and closures in aged care are the latest example of Queensland Liberal National Premier Campbell Newman’s vicious contempt for jobs and the...

Victory for the left in NSW PSA elections

Progressive PSA candidates have beaten incumbent officials in the union elections in the Public Service Association (PSA) in NSW. The public sector has been...

Kennett vs the unions—a fight we should have won

As we face vicious state Liberal governments, David Glanz looks back at the fight against vicious neo-liberal Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett twenty years ago...

Labor’s love affair with the market: The Keating years

In the final instalment in our series on the history of the Australian Labor Party, Jean Parker explains how Keating was the architect of...

Ramp up the fight against state Liberals

The 10,000 workers that marched through Brisbane against Campbell Newman in September showed the anger at state Liberal government cuts. In NSW, thousands of...

Nine weeks! Abigroup workers defy the courts and win

Construction workers at the Queensland Children’s Hospital (QCH), the largest building site in Brisbane, have had a significant victory after a nine week, 63...

Strikes needed to stop Newman’s cuts

More than 10,000 public servants and union members joined an angry mass rally against Queensland’s Liberal National Party (LNP) government in September. The turn...

Fight O’Farrell’s cuts, defend permanent jobs in schools

State Liberal government cutbacks across Australia resulted last month in the largest teachers’ strike in Victorian history and 10,000 workers taking to Brisbane’s streets. In...

Defying the law: the Queensland 1982 general strike

Amy Thomas looks at the inspiring story of how workers beat back Joh Bjelke-Petersen Imagine the joy of seeing a humiliated Queensland Premier Campbell Newman...

Grocon dispute ends in unnecessary union backdown

The end of the Grocon blockade in Melbourne has resulted in a significant setback for the CFMEU. After thousands of building workers blockaded the...

Sensis workers vote for deal, but plenty more to fight for next time

Workers have voted to accept both Enterprise Agreements at Sensis after a year long campaign. But a substantial minority followed the AMWU’s recommendation to...

He says cutback, we say fightback

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman’s attacks are coming so thick and fast it’s hard to keep up. He is continuing to launch cut after cut...

Construction unions show power to beat Grocon

For almost three weeks, hundreds of construction workers have blockaded Grocon’s Myer Emporium construction site in Melbourne, showing the power to stop the company’s...

Will management ever come to their Sensis?

The AMWU will campaign for a “no” vote on two separate agreements if Sensis moves ahead to put them to a ballot. A mass...

Grocon humbled as construction workers defend union rights

For ten straight days, hundreds of construction unionists have blockaded Grocon’s Myer Emporium construction site in the heart of Melbourne. Construction workers have drawn...

Turn the axe around on the state Liberals

If elections were held in Queensland tomorrow, Premier Campbell Newman would lose his own seat. After trouncing Labor only a few months ago, millions of...

Open letter to the left – welcome 457 visa workers

Dear Comrades, Over recent weeks there have been a number of union rallies, particularly in Western Australia, around slogans such as, “Local workers first” or...

Fightback in the workplace is the way to save jobs

“The very week when workers are being given their marching orders out of a job at Kurri Kurri and Tullamarine, 1700 Chinese workers are...

The facts: understanding 457s and temporary work visas

What is a 457 visa? A 457 visa is a temporary visa allowing someone to work in Australia for four years. It is designed to allow...

Racism, White Australia and the union movement

Jasmine Ali examines how racism has affected the history of the union movement in Australia, as well as the history of anti-racism within the...

Sign-on statement: welcome 457 visa holders into the unions

Gina Rinehart's Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) for her Roy Hill project has sparked debate over the issue of "Aussie jobs" and 457 visas. This...

Victorian building workers ready to resist Baillieu’s union busting

In early July, around 8000 construction workers joined a strike and rally against Victorian Liberal Premier Ted Baillieu’s new anti-union building code, which came...

Intervention laws pass but support for fight in Bankstown builds

“The Government has shown absolute disregard for our wishes and our human rights”, Dr Djiniyini Gondarra, Yolngu Nations Assembly spokesperson, declared after “Stronger Futures”...

O’Farrell steps up Liberals’ assault on NSW workers

Barry O’Farrell has let rip the Liberals’ real agenda for NSW. He is slashing workers’ compensation payments, cutting public service jobs, attacking teachers and...

NSW teachers must step up strike action

Defying NSW Industrial Relations Commission orders, tens of thousands of school teachers struck on June 27 against the O’Farrell government’s devolution plan. The strike...

Newman’s first 100 days: slash-and-burn with a dose of bigotry

“Black Friday” is what many Queenslanders were calling June 28, when 3000 public servants became the first victims of new Liberal National Party (LNP)...

457 visas and “Aussie jobs”: to fight for jobs, we have to fight together

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen’s announcement of an Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) allowing Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project to employ 1700 overseas workers on 457...

Action to defend claims on the cards at Sensis

AMWU members at Sensis voted a resounding yes in a protected industrial action ballot, after months of negotiations going nowhere. Seventy seven per cent...

Rinehart migration deal: To fight for jobs, we have to fight together

The announcement of an Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) that will allow Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill project to employ 1700 overseas workers has produced a...

Attack on Victorian TAFE means more cuts and privatisation

Several thousand unionists and students rallied outside the office of Victorian Premier, Ted Baillieu, on May 10 in protest at a $160 million cut...

Victorian teachers prepare to fight Baillieu

Teachers in Victorian public schools are in for a fight to beat the state government’s 2.5 per cent public sector wide pay cap and...

Union power is the alternative to Labor’s crisis

Julia Gillard may have triumphed over Kevin Rudd in Labor’s leadership brawl. But Labor remains headed for electoral oblivion—and it is Gillard’s policies that...

Kevin Rudd, Labor, and the real faceless men

In one of his numerous press conferences during the Labor leadership showdown, Kevin Rudd called for, “reform of the Labor Party itself, so that...

Sydney Uni: “no cuts, no way, not tomorrow, not today!”

The fightback to stop job and budget cuts at the University of Sydney has escalated. In the first week of semester, 700 staff and...

Labor’s ABCC changes: Are the anti-union powers gone for good?

In February, the Gillard government rolled the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) into Fair Work Australia. The anti-union ABCC’s powers and role will...

NSW Liberals serve up new threats to public sector

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has public sector unions in his sights.  Last year Barry O'Farrell announced changes to force the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to...

Millions of Indian workers unite to strike against neo-liberalism

On February 28, millions of Indian workers participated in the biggest general strike since independence in 1947. For the first time since 1970, the...

Rebuilding fighting unions: Lessons from the US

The Civil wars in U.S. Labor: Birth of a New Workers’ Movement or Death Throes of the Old? By Steve Early, Haymarket Books, $24.95 The “organising...

Gillard caves in to bosses’ demands with Fair Work review

Julia Gillard has caved in to business complaints about her workplace laws by announcing a review of the FairWork legislation. This comes after months...

The need for an anatomy of the trade union bureaucracy

Review: We Built This Country By Humphrey McQueen, Ginninderra Press, $30 I found Humphrey McQueen’s second instalment of his trilogy on the building industry disappointing. And...

Baiada workers win victory over bullying bosses

Baiada Poultry workers in Melbourne have won a major victory for fair pay and job security after 13 days on strike. These 300 mostly...

NSW teachers willing to fight, but strike called off

On November 19, the State Council of the NSW Teachers Federation carried a branch executive resolution to “defer” a planned strike for November 29—a...

Bus drivers’ trade-offs set bad precedent

Not long ago, NSW unions were talking about breaking O’Farrell’s 2.5 per cent pay cap. Then the PSA settled for 2.5 per cent. Disgracefully RBTU...

Lively protest at Sensis for a union agreement

Over fifty Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) members held a lunchtime protest to stop Sensis undermining their union agreement (the Advertising and Design Agreement),...

Nurses defy FairWork to fight for jobs

Victorian nurses have shown how to stand up to Fair Work Australia and a nasty Liberal state government. Thousands at a packed mass meeting on...

Three month strike hits Freeport’s West Papua mine

Over 8000 workers have been on strike for three months at the giant Freeport mine in West Papua. Five strikers have been shot and...

As Joyce goes for anti-union lockout: Back the Qantas workers

If anyone was wondering what the 1 per cent looks like—take a look at anti-union thug and Qantas boss, Alan Joyce. A day after...

More attacks on construction unions

Construction unions are facing renewed attack, with Ted Baillieu’s Victorian Liberal government announcing a new squad of investigators to spy on building sites. The new...

Knocking some sense into Sensis

Enterprise bargaining has commenced at Sensis for the first time in years, as a result of growing union membership. Sensis is 100 per cent...

Fiji’s unions face vicious government crackdown

In recent months Fiji’s Interim Government under Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama has launched a new crackdown on unions. In mid-July, following a decree prohibiting full-time...

Why boosting productivity means working harder

The call for greater efforts to boost productivity has become a constant refrain from business and government. Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens added his...

Qantas job cuts need to be fought, and fast

IN MID-AUGUST, Qantas announced plans to restructure its international arm, or Mainline, into Asia with a hub in Japan and a second Asian airport,...

All out to beat O’Farrell—break the wage cap, back the teachers

TENS OF thousands of teachers, nurses, firefighters and public servants are expected to rally on September 8 to launch the campaign against NSW Liberal...

What does O’Farrell’s attack on the IRC mean?

Union leaders have denounced the NSW Liberals new public sector law as “worse than WorkChoices”. Their new law requires the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to...

Out all for massive rally in September against O’Farrell

As Solidarity went to press, NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell’s assault on public sector workers had hit a minor snag, with the Shooters and...

Time to fight pay cap in federal public service

Federal public servants in a number of agencies, including the ATO, Defence, Customs, Immigration and the Bureau of Meteorology have now voted down enterprise...

Greek workers show how to fight

Greece is in turmoil (see here). Workers are escalating resistance, staging their first 48-hour general strike as the government passed through vicious new austerity...

United strike action can beat back O’Farrell in NSW

Twelve thousand unionists rallied against the NSW Liberals’ attack on public sector workers on June 15. Nurses and health workers from 40 hospitals, firefighters and...

Qantas plans to undercut wages exposed

The battlelines are being drawn at Qantas, with management maintaining its belligerence against unions in Enterprise Bargaining negotiations. While the engineers union has postponed...

NSW Liberals attack on public sector ‘worse than WorkChoices’

The NSW Public Service Association (PSA) has imposed bans on public servant overtime in response to the NSW Liberal government’s announcement of a 2.5...

Unions and the carbon price: trying to sell the unsaleable

“If one job is lost, our support is gone.” This was the condition placed on a carbon tax by right-wing Labor heavyweight and Australian...

Fight over job security brewing at Qantas

Three key unions at Qantas are pressing demands for job security and above-inflation pay rises. Pilots, aircraft engineers and ground staff, like baggage handlers,...

Carbon pricing, unions and climate change

Solidarity spoke to James Goodman, National Tertiary Education Union member at UTS, about unions and climate change policy The ACTU had a position where it...

Labor’s juggling act: move to the right but keep the unions happy

After Labor's appalling result at last year’s Federal election it was close to becoming the first one-term Federal government since Scullin’s in the 1930s Depression....

Workers stage first national strike in CSIRO’s history

More than 2000 staff across the country at CSIRO took part in a two-hour strike in late March over pay and conditions.It is the first...

School autonomy another market measure

Just before Christmas, Julia Gillard announced the next step in her free market vision for schools. Her proposal for “school autonomy” would give school principals and...

Editorial: A union fightback can stop the rot

The Liberals’ win in the Victorian elections is another warning that Labor’s right-wing policies are paving the way for the Liberals. Federally, too, Labor...

Walkouts hit Thiess over secret planning to break unions

Nation-wide strike action erupted on all 36 major Thiess construction sites in mid-November, over industrial spying by a union-busting company at Thiess’s desalination project...

No to market solutions, says union climate conference

Melbourne's trade union climate conference in October was a big step forward for the climate movement in Melbourne. The conference, organised by Victorian Trades Hall...

Aboriginal workers exploited by the Intervention win support

The fight against the racist NT Intervention has taken a step forward with the launch of new campaign demanding ‘Jobs with Justice’ for Aboriginal...

Gurundji stop work over NT Intervention

On October 20, more than 200 Gurindji people joined an 11am stop work meeting in Kalkaringi, 470kms South-West of Katherine, NT. The rally was...

We need industrial action to defend Ark

Ark Tribe will finally find out if he is going to jail when magistrate David Whittle delivers his decision on November 3. Ark faces up to...

Union climate conference—focus on political campaigning needed

Unions in NSW have deepened their engagement with climate issues by hosting a Climate Active conference in September, one of the first of its...

Only strike campaign can stop Queensland Rail sell-off now

Despite massive public opposition, the Queensland Labor government under Premier Anna Bligh is continuing to push forward with $15 billion worth of public asset...

NSW unions relaunch campaign against privatisation for state election

Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon has announced plans to campaign against privatisation in the lead up to next year’s NSW state election in March....

Working class heroes were made in Dagenham

Review: Made in Dagenham, directed by Nigel Cole In cinemas October 28 It's 1968 and 187 female machinists at the huge Ford Dagenham car plant in...

Unions can’t afford three more years of waiting for Labor

In 2007, the mass union mobilisations through the Your Rights at Work campaign were the central force driving John Howard from office. It beggars...

Building on union openings key for anti-Intervention campaign

Around the country, the campaign against the Intervention needs to step up the fight with a renewed mandate. Campaigners should draw encouragement from the anti-Intervention...

Solidarity 2010 conference Melbourne

11.30-6pm Saturday September 18 2nd Flr, Melb Uni Student Union, Graham Cornish Rooms All welcome, for more info or to register, call Chris on 0403 013...

The NSW BLF margins strike: How union members defied the law and won

Forty years ago, the margins strike provided a model example of how to involve rank and file union members in action in defiance of...

James Hardie: The Killer Company exposed

Review: Killer Company By Matt Peacock, ABC Books, $35.00 In 1898 Britian’s Chief Inspector of Factories reported to Parliament about the “evil effects of asbestos dust”....

Mobilisation the key to climate fight

Labor has a climate policy basically identical to the Liberals. Rudd's drop in support after junking the CPRS, and the votes heading to The...

China’s workers want to lose their chains

There is a rising tide of anger and determination amongst Chinese workers. In the face of some of the most regressive labour laws in...

1972 Black Moratorium: How unions walked out for Aboriginal rights

The Black Moratorium marches in 1972 were amongst the most successful protests for Aboriginal rights ever in this country. Paddy Gibson explains how the...

Ark case delayed as thousands rally

Thousands rallied across the country as building worker Ark Tribe faced trial on June 15. He is the second person to face six months...

NAPLAN aftermath shows the need to fight

Students nationwide sat the National Assessment Program–Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests in May after the education unions called off their proposed moratorium on the...

Greek workers all out to stop IMF cuts

Greece exploded again in strikes and protests at government cutbacks, as European leaders and the IMF were forced to fast-track emergency loans to the Greek...

Unions must defy ABCC fines

Nationwide union rallies will mark the first day of Ark Tribe’s trial on June 15. Ark is the second unionist to face six months jail...

Bans could have beaten NAPLAN

The Australian Education Union and state teachers unions’ have backed away from a confrontation with Julia Gillard over the NAPLAN tests. But the battle...

How women and men united to fight for equal pay

This year unions have launched a new equal pay campaign, “Pay Up”, in recognition of the persistent inequality in wage levels. Women make up...

Tahmoor miners fight Xstrata to maintain conditions

Three hundred coalminers at the Xstrata-owned Tahmoor coal mine in NSW have been fighting for their rights and conditions since late 2008. After ten...

Round two of industrial action begins at Woodside

In the aftermath of wild cat strikes in January and February over motelling, construction unions in the Pilbara have begun an industrial campaign targeting...

Herron workers fight for fair redundancy offer

Workers at Sigma’s Herron pharmaceutical plant in Tennyson, Brisbane walked out on a week-long strike in February over their employer’s unfair redundancy offer. The plant...

Fair work decision undermines strike action at Star City

A planned 24-hour strike at Sydney’s Star City Casino during Chinese New Year was banned by a decision of Fair Work Australia. This is...

Woodside strike ends in draw but fines set scene for showdown

The eight-day strike over motelling at Woodside in Western Australia has ended in a draw. But the industrial battle isn’t over by a long...

TAFE: “We will (partially) win”

“The best union meeting I’ve attended in years.” That was the response of many NSW TAFE teachers after a 3000-strong mass meeting filled and...

WA unions show how deal with Rudd’s anti-union laws

Employers in WA’s Pilbara region have warned that militant strikes at Woodside’s Pluto site could spread across the whole resources sector.  The Woodside strikers...

Unions need to defy Rudd’s anti-strike laws

Rudd’s new work laws, like Howard’s, are designed to criminalise effective strike action—and intimidate workers out of using it. In January up to 1600 workers...

Step up the strike action to win at Australia Post

Up to 20,000 union members went on strike at Australia Post in December, part of a pre-Christmas rush of strikes that also hit Sydney...

Woodside Pluto workers fight over living conditions

Workers at Woodside’s $12 billion Pluto gas site are fighting plans to take away stable on-site accommodation. The dispute arose over plans to take...

Teachers right to ban tests for MySchool

National teaching unions are set to ban upcoming National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. The move comes after newspapers in Canberra, Sydney and...

Three strikes and counting at Star City

Workers at Star City Casino in Sydney have taken three rounds of strike action over their employers’ lousy pay offer. Despite workers already rejecting the...

Workers on strike for a fair go from Fairfax

Clerical workers at The Age newspaper have gone on strike for the first time ever as part of enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA) negotiations. Workers from the...

Woodside Pluto workers defy Rudd’s IR laws

Up to 1600 workers have defied court orders and calls by the Rudd government to end strike action at Woodside Petroleum’s Pluto gas site...

Workers hit back with strike action at Australia Post

Up to 20,000 union members have taken strike action at Australia Post, part of a pre-Xmas rush of strikes that also hit Sydney buses,...

Xmas strikes can be the start of new year of struggle

The run of pre-Xmas strikes are a welcome start in reversing years of management bullying, privatisation and job cuts. The limited revival of industrial...

NSW Labor conference–where was the anti-privatisation revolt?

A union push to overturn the NSW government’s privatisation drive failed to materialise at the Labor state conference in mid-November. A year ago at...

Queensland teachers deal–could do better

The leadership of the Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) has sold its members a dud pay offer. During a fortnight long propaganda barrage, they managed...

Plan to resist competitive model needed in Victorian schools

Recent elections in the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) have taken place at a challenging time for public schools and teachers. State...

NSW TAFE teachers walk out over savage attack on conditions

TAFE Teachers across NSW have walked off the job in protest at the combined attack on their working conditions from the NSW government and...

Rudd’s IR streamlining cuts rights and conditions

A generation of neo-liberal attacks dressed up as reform or restructuring have created deep suspicion among many workers about anything that’s described as “streamlining” conditions. And...

Bosses exploit hidden nasties in Rudd’s new work laws

Labor’s Fair Work Act has lifted the sense of intimidation felt about union membership among many workers. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures from earlier this year...

Strike action hits sector, but Melb uni deal not good enough

National Tertiary Education University members at 16 universities across the country stopped work on September 16 as part of the NTEU national bargaining round...

Opposition to privatisation stays strong in Queensland

Anna Bligh was hoping that a combination of time and spin would be enough for Queensland workers to get used to her unpopular decision...

Will Nathan Rees survive the NSW Labor conference?

The 2009 NSW Labor conference is shaping up to be a focal point of anger at the Nathan Rees government. At the Sydney Entertainment...

Bosses build their profits on toll of workers’ lives

Review: Framework of Flesh By Humphrey McQueen, Ginninderra Press, $30 Noted Marxist historian Humphrey McQueen’s book on the builders’ labourers battle for health and safety, Framework...

Union anger over ABCC at Labor conference

A march by hundreds of workers to a union fringe event on the Labor conference’s second day was one of the few brights spots...

Queensland teachers dispute in arbitration limbo

As Queensland teachers geared up for a state-wide strike, Queensland’s Labor Government has used the state’s industrial laws to drive the wage dispute into...

Staff protest plan to shed 220 jobs at Melbourne Uni

Melbourne University NTEU members are in a battle with the University of Melbourne to stop a proposed 220 job attrition. A massive big-brother reorganisation, called...

ABCC campaign hots up as second unionist faces jail

The battle for union rights under the Rudd Labor government is set to hot up in August, when building workers around the country go...

Labor and the depression: The great coal lockout of 1929

Carl Taylor takes a look back at a strike where workers took on a Labor government “The most dramatic industrial clash that has ever shocked...

Brisbane Casino: The union officials and the strike that never happened

It was so close. There were just eight votes in the decision at Brisbane’s Treasury Casino to accept the company deal (see story p...

Union leaders ‘neutrality’ at Casino sells a rotten deal

Anger and resentment is running high among workers at Brisbane’s Treasury Casino.  Eight months of bargaining and two cancelled strikes have left us with...

Thiess in bid to sack union members and slash workers’ conditions

IN EARLY June Thiess Services sacked four union members for pushing a union collective agreement with the company. The CFMEU construction union is calling on...

Bligh puts Queensland up for sale

Anna Bligh’s Labor government is well and truly on the nose following its decision to privatise $15 billion worth of public assets. According to...

Unions to launch campaign to defend public services in NSW

The gap between unions and the NSW state Labor government continues to widen. At the end of June Unions NSW unveiled its new response...

University workers on the move in Melbourne

WORKERS AT five universities in Melbourne—Melbourne, Monash, Swinburne, RMIT and Deakin, plus a Hawthorn college —went out on strike on Thursday, May 21. Staff at...

As new charges laid, time to scrap ABCC

On April 28, over 10,000 building workers in Melbourne and 3000 in Brisbane took illegal strike action against the Howard-era anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). The Rudd government still gives $33 million to the ABCC to police union activities on building sites.

Queensland teachers push for pay

On Tuesday May 19, 30,000 Queensland teachers held a 24-hour strike over the measly 12.5 per cent pay rise over three years offered by...

Brisbane Casino workers vote to strike

As Solidarity went to press the results of the Brisbane Treasury Casino strike ballot were released.  The postal ballot, conducted by the Australian Electoral...

Campaign saves Cessnock prison, but NSW privatisation drive goes on

With Cessnock jail off the privatisation list, union activists including prison guards (PSA), teachers (NSWTF), nurses, AMWU and NTEU are seeking to extend the campaign...

United union fight needed to beat NSW privatisations

A united cross-union campaign against the NSW government’s privatisation fire sale is needed, as prison workers continue their fight against privatisation. The latest announcement, made...

Westgate workers defy attempt to slash wages

Two hundred police moved in to break up picket lines on Melbourne’s Westgate bridge on April 15, where 39 workers have held out since...

It’s battle stations—Brisbane Casino workers say 3 per cent not enough

A BETWEEN-SHIFT mass meeting of over 100 Conrad Treasury Casino workers in Brisbane has voted unanimously to initiate a ballot for industrial action in...

Unions call for campaign of defiance of ABCC

UNIONS ARE stepping up their campaign to have the Australian Building and Construction Commission scrapped, with strike-day rallies around the country on April 28....

Irish workers show occupying can save jobs

Workers at Waterford Crystal in Ireland have secured 176 jobs in the plant after an eight week long occupation of their workplace. Their example...

Queensland teachers won’t accept pay restraint

QUEENSLAND TEACHERS are set to vote for 24-hour strikes from the beginning of May. Well-attended mass meetings voted overwhelmingly to hold a publicity and...

Winning right to strike a key challenge for unions

Review: The State of Industrial Relations Evatt Foundation,  $24.95 THIS SHORT volume was put together in 2008, after Labor’s election but before all the details of...

Anti-privatisation campaign reignites in NSW

NSW unions are again locked in battle with the state Labor government over privatisation. With the government accelerating its planned sell-off of prisons, members...

Rudd won’t save jobs in the public service

Despite its promise to create jobs in the economic downturn, the Rudd government is imposing job cuts on the federal public service. Cuts of...

Irish workers refuse to pay for the crisis

Anger at the Irish government’s response to the recession has exploded into angry and growing protests. Over 120,000 joined a protest in Dublin in...

Brisbane Casino workers prepare for wage action

WORKERS AT Brisbane’s Treasury Casino are getting restless. The casino EBA expired on December 31, 2008. Since negotiations started in November 2008, Tabcorp, the...

Still no right to strike under Workchoices-lite

MINOR CHANGS saw Rudd pass his “WorkChoices-lite” package through the Senate in late March. But Rudd’s bill has failed to repeal the anti-strike laws contained...

Fosters uses crisis as excuse to slash wages

Profitable companies are using the economic crisis as an excuse to sack workers and slash wages. Despite a 9 per cent rise in profit to...

Bosses divide and conquer at Drivetrain

Bosses at Drivetrain Systems have used “divide and conquer” tactics to stop workers resisting mass sackings at an Albury-Wodonga gearbox factory. The company dismissed all...

Sydney University staff gear up for strike ballot

On February 25 meetings of approximately 200 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Sydney voted to seek a...

Waterford Crystal: ‘We’re occupying to save our jobs’

Six hundred workers are occupying the Waterford Crystal factory in Ireland after receivers tried to sack them and close the plant.The plant had already...

More action needed to trump Telstra over pay

Telstra workers went out on a strike for the second time in two months on Monday February 9. Following on from a four-hour stoppage...

NSW teachers victory could have gone further

NSW TEACHERS have won a pay increase and the reinstatement of a state-wide staffing plan as part of a new 3-year-award. An initial pay rise...

Will taking wage cuts save jobs?

As unemployment edges upwards, the myth that cutting wages can save jobs is being promoted once again. Accepting this would be a huge mistake...

History of our unions from high point to retreat

Review: Trade Unionism in Australia: A history from flood to ebb tide, By Tom Bramble , Cambridge University Press, $49.95According to the most recent...

NSW teachers’ deal could have gone further

NSW teachers have won a pay increase and the reinstatement of a state-wide staffing plan as part of a new 3-year-award. An initial pay rise...

Take childcare into public hands

A not-for-profit consortium led by Community Childcare Co-operative NSW has made a bid for 241 ABC childcare centres that the company’s receivers had deemed...

Union puts university management on back foot

Union members in the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) have faced down compulsory redundancies at Victoria University (VU) and the University of Melbourne (Melbourne...

Making sure we don’t pay as economy fails

So far the world economic crisis has not had the same impact in Australia as in the US or Europe. A few months...

ABC Learning–save the centres, save the jobs

As Solidarity goes to print, the fate of up to 386 ABC Learning child care centres is in doubt. That represents one-tenth of the...

New laws not the end of WorkChoices

The final piece of Labor’s new industrial relations regime has been unveiled by Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard. The new legislation was hailed by...

University staff resist job cuts in Victoria

The shocking announcement a few weeks ago of the largest ever mass sackings in Australia’s higher education sector at Victoria University (VU) prompted a well attended protest rally...

NSW government pushes privatisation and cutbacks

In the context of the global financial crisis, governments across the world have abandoned financial conservatism, proposing significant expenditure programs, often funded through debt....

NSW teachers vote for 48-hour strike

Twenty thousand teachers at meetings around NSW have voted to take 48 hours of industrial action at the start of the 2009 school year,...

Unions after the Rights at Work campaign

The union campaign against WorkChoices succeeded in getting Howard voted out, but has not put unions in a stronger position to organise and fight. Solidarity examines why.

Anti-union laws: How the penal powers were defeated

In 1969 over one million workers took part in a general stoppage and won the freedom of jailed union official Clarrie O’Shea and an...

NSW teachers plan 48 hour strike in January 09

20,000 teachers at meetings around the state have voted to take 48 hours of industrial action from the start of the 2009 school year,...

Telstra tries on second non-union agreement

Last issue Solidarity reported that Telstra workers in the Wholesale and Service Advantage area had voted down a non-union collective agreement. It was a...

Strike against non-union agreement at Rio Tinto

TRAIN DRIVERS in the Pilbara region of Western Australia have taken strike action as part of a struggle to establish a collective union agreement...

Sydney Uni uses economic crisis to justify cuts

In the midst of global panic last month, the University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor announced shock budget cuts of up to 9 per cent because...

NSW teachers to stopwork as fight for 5 per cent continues

NSW teachers will continue their campaign for salary and staffing justice with statewide stopwork meetings on November 19. They will hear details of a...

Struggling to hold on: the Unemployed Workers Movement

The economic devastation that gripped Australia during the 1930s dealt an almost fatal blow to the organised labour movement. In the face of mass...

Unions and the fight for the environment

In the 1970s the Builders Labourers’ Federation led inspiring struggles in defence of the natural environment. Emma Torzillo looks at the history of an...

Workers to rally for end to anti-union ABCC

THOUSANDS OF building workers across the country are set to strike on December 2, when Noel Washington, senior vice president of the Victorian branch...

Robbo goes to parliament

What does it do for the union movement’s credibility when its elected leader joins the government? I’d just checked my email and read that the...

Brisbane construction sites stopwork to defend Noel Washington

OVER 3000 Brisbane construction workers walked off the job for a mass stopwork meeting in central Brisbane on September 12. The action was in...

NSW teachers campaign to break Labor’s pay cap

NSW TEACHERS are still seeking a salary raise of 5 per cent or more and an end to restrictions on transfers. The October state...

Queensland public sector workers fight pay offer

PUBLIC SECTOR workers rallied in Brisbane on September 30 to protest over the state government’s paltry 3.25 per cent wage offer. Over 3000 workers...

Action can stop job cuts at Melbourne Uni

A COLD, wind-swept day did not stop over 120 Melbourne Uni staff and students joining a protest against university management’s plan to sack 20...

Blow to Telstra’s plans for non-union agreement

WORKERS AT Telstra have voted to reject the collective non-union agreement the company was trying to force on them. This is a major defeat...

Fight needed to win real work rights

FURTHER DETAILS about Labor’s new IR laws confirm that the new government will retain the bulk of WorkChoices. Legislation will be introduced into parliament...

Rights on sites

Join the campaign to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission. The Howard government set up the ABCC to cripple workers rights in the...

Fairfax staff fight back

Solidarity speaks to Marcus Strom, a member of the Fairfax union house committee, about the ongoing dispute at Fairfax. What do you think was behind...

Victorian CFMEU misses chance to link ABCC to pay claim

A mass meeting of 6000 Victorian building workers, members of the CFMEU, in late August, voted to accept the latest EBA put to them...

Editorials: Rudd and the unions; debating climate solutions

THE BELIEF that the Rudd government will bring change is still strong. But many people wish the government was moving more quickly to undo...

Unions start fight to scrap anti-worker laws

VICTORIAN BUILDING unions are set to hold a mass stopwork rally in defence of Noel Washington, the construction union official facing six months jail...

Involving members key to change in CPSU

IN THE wake of the federal election victory for Labor, the CPSU is holding a series of Agenda For Change discussions around the country....

2000 Union Delegates Meet To Defend Noel Washington

2000 union delegates attended a mass meeting to defend Noel Washington, CFMEU official facing 6 months jail for refusing to be interrogated by the Howard era Australian Building & Construction Commission (ABCC). The ABCC wanted to question him about what was said at a union meeting that took place outside of work hours.

Rethink needed in power sell-off fight

THE LATEST humiliating back-flip by the NSW government over its planned power sell-off indicates two things. Firstly, NSW Labor is facing a serious crisis....

NSW public sector battles below inflation pay offers

NSW public sector unions including public servants, firefighters and train drivers are planning a united day of action on July 30 against the state...

WorkChoices: how much is Labor planning to change?

The Your Rights at Work campaign mobilised thousands of unionists to campaign against the Howard government and its vicious Workchoices laws. Yet over six...

Construction walkout over Gold Coast deaths

On Saturday morning June 21 two construction workers were killed when their swing stage scaffolding fell from the side of a Gold Coast high-rise...

NTEU campaign: our universities matter

UNIVERSITY STAFF and university communities suffered badly under the Howard government. The HEWRRs legislation, a precursor to the WorkChoices legislation, tied government funding to...

Unions act to defend Noel Washington and scrap the construction commission

Unions in Victoria are set to escalate their campaign against the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), a WorkChoices-era relic. For the first time since Howard introduced the ABCC a unionist, Noel Washington, will face court for refusing to attend an interrogation by the commission.

Leadership of NSW nurses’ union undermines public sector-wide pay fight

NURSES IN NSW have accepted a pay deal in exchange for a raft of “trade offs” that strip back work conditions. The nurses’ is...

Unions versus Labor- the 1948 rail strike

Mark Gillespie looks at the Queensland rail strike of 1948, when the Communist Party led workers in a vicious battle with a state Labor...

NSW teachers take on Iemma

NSW TEACHERS will continue rolling industrial action unless the New South Wales government sits down and negotiates on proposed changes to the school staffing...

Engineers battle below inflation scare tactic

IN MAY, around 1500 Qantas aircraft engineers took strike action in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne over a pay claim. They took this action despite...

Rudd under the pump?

IS RUDD'S honeymoon coming to an end? Recent weeks have seen him blunder over fuel prices, his Howardesque moralism over Bill Henson and brewing...

Crunch time for anti-privatisation campaign

THE CAMPAIGN against electricity privatisation has reached a critical stage in NSW. Concerted campaigning within the ALP and amongst the public secured an overwhelming vote...

Bosses demand pay cut for low paid

When the Fair Pay Commission holds its annual National Minimum Wage Case hearing in mid-2008, the major employers will propose cuts to real wages....

MUA here to stay—The 1998 waterfront dispute

This year marks 20 years since the 1998 waterfront dispute—John Howard’s first attempt to break union power. Mark Gillespie draws out the lessons.

Thousands march against NSW privatisation plans

THOUSANDS OF union members marched last month against the NSW government's plans to privatise electricity. Despite industry claims otherwise, two-thirds of the state is...

NSW teachers to strike against deregulation

On Saturday March 8, 300 delegates at the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) state council voted unanimously to strike in opposition to the Iemma government's...

Victorian teachers fight neo-liberal pay limit

Victorian teachers are fighting to break the Brumby Government's pay cap of 3.25 per cent (below the current inflation rate). Following the state-wide Australian...

ACTU joins Labor government’s ‘inflation fight’

ON MARCH 4, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) announced its support for a new proposal to transfer this year's planned $31 billion...

Union to defy Howard-era watchdog

Noel Washington, an official with Construction Division of the Victorian CFMEU, will be called before a court after refusing to be interrogated by the...

Struggle can reverse union membership decline

NEW FIGURES showing a dramatic drop in union membership in 2007 highlight the challenges facing the labour movement as it attempts to rebuild after...

Victorian teachers show the way to win

After three state-wide strikes and five weeks of rolling stoppages, some Victorian teachers have won large pay increases of 10 and 15 per cent...

Boeing strike beats anti-union laws

WORKERS AT Boeing subsidiary Hawker de Havilland in Port Melbourne have successfully defied anti-strike laws to take action in defence of a sacked workmate....

Dave Kerin faces jail for supporting strikers

Six months after Labor's election, unionists are still fighting Howard's laws. Dave Kerin of Union Solidarity has been summonsed by the workplace ombudsman to...

US union takes strike action against the war

MAY DAY in the US this year was marked by dockworkers along the West Coast taking industrial action against the US-led wars in Iraq...

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