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Unfair Dismissal


Howard offers token amount for sacked workers

Howard is promising workers who are sacked unlawfully will have access to a $4000 legal fund to fight their dismissal - effectively an admission that workers will be worse off under the new legislation
He outlined the provisions for the handout in Perth on Thursday 29/09/05), which will cover only a fraction of the estimated $25,000 cost of mounting an 'unlawful termination' action in the courts.
Current laws protect workers from 'unfair dismissal' - being sacked for no reason or an unfair reason. Unfair dismissal hearings are conducted by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, are heard quickly with minimum costs and do not require the presence of lawyers.
Under the proposed legislation up to 4 million Australian workers will be denied this protection and could be forced to go through lengthy court cases to determine if they have been treated unlawfully.
Also, if they lose they could be forced to pay the costs of their former employer.
If the new laws are passed up to 4 million Australian workers will have no protection from unfair dismissal.

Casuals


Casuals are conscripts, not volunteers

 

Most casual workers are not casual by choice and would prefer to be in ongoing employment, according to a new report.

 

Find out more about the report findings

Good News for Labour Hire Workers


ASU wins right to permanency for labour hire employees

In a ground breaking decision handed down recently by the South Australian Industrial Commission the ASU SA & NT Branch has won a long running battle to gain the right for long term labour hire employees to convert to permanent employment.

In his decision Commissioner Dangerfield found that two ASU members employed by Direct Personnel to work for Transport SA on a long term basis, were entitled to be considered permanent employees and therefore gain access to Award entitlements such as paid annual leave, paid sick leave and redundancy pay.
"This is a fantastic win for clerical workers who work for labour hire firms," said Branch Assistant Secretary Andy Dennard. "Employers in the industry can no longer hide behind their status labour hire organisations to deny their employees the right to permanent status and the benefits that go along with it."
"As far as we are aware this is the first decision of its kind in Australia and it is an important step towards gaining the right to permanent employment for all long-term labour hire employees," he continued.
"For far too long labour hire has been used as device to keep employees in a state of indefinite casual employment regardless of the true nature and length of their employment. Hopefully this decision marks the beginning of the end of such practices," Mr Dennard said.

Building Industry


Building Industry Taskforce
What new laws mean for building workers

The Howard Government has legislated to give the Building Industry Taskforce new powers to deal with industrial relations issues in the building industry.

These Powers are:

  • Power to demand that documents are handed over;
  • Power to compel inforamation be given or questons be answered (under oath).

This means that ordinary workers can be served with a notice which forces them to appear before the Taskforce and be questioned about a workplace issue.

No Right to Silence

These interrogation sessions are held in private and you may be told that you have to answer questions under oath. You have no 'right to be silent'.
You can be directed not to disclose to anyone (other than you lawyer) what was discussed during your interrogation.
There is no protection from self-incrimination; you must answer questions even if the answers might tend to incriminate you.
Failure to comply is a criminal offence and penalties from a  $3,300 fine to 6 months imprisonment.

These attacks on Building Workers will be spread to attacks on all if the Government is able to use these laws

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Election 24.11.07

The Australian public has totally rejected 'WorkChoices' and the Liberal and National parties' attack on unions and workers' rights.

"This is an historic election result that confirms the Australian people believe in a fair go for all and that all Australian workers are entitled to decent rights in the workplace" said ACTU President Sharon Burroughs.

Families


Families worse off under WorkChoice

Women Workers


Women now earn $100 a week less than men!

 

Anthrax


Anthrax Outbreak in Shepparton
What Meat Workers Need to Know

Victorian Trade Union Choir


Union Choir Welcomes Members

The Victorian Trade Union Choir welcomes union members to join in 2007. The choir provides a musical voice to the union message and sings at rallies, concerts, wakes and many other celebrations. Respected community musician Michael Riper is the Director. Rehearsals are Thursdays 6.30 - 8.00pm at Trades Hall, corner Victoria and Lygon Street Carlton South, starting 8 February: go to the Bar for directions;details call Dal on 9370 0427.

457 rip offs

$650k Workers' Underpayment is Proof that Problems are Rife with 457 Visas

ACTU Media Release 31 October 2006

The announcement by the OWS today that temporary workers have been underpaid $650,000 is conclusive proof that exploitation of overseas workers is rife under the Federal Government's 457 visa program says the ACTU.

Commenting on the issue today ACTU President Sharan Burrow said:

"Today the Office of Workplace Services (OWS) announced it has found 38 overseas workers in NSW were underpaid $650,000.

Yesterday the OWS announced it had found a Melbourne printing firm had underpaid four overseas workers $93,000 over the past 12 months.

This shows just how big is the problem of exploitation of overseas workers and just how little the Government has been doing about it.

The Government has attacked unions for standing up for overseas workers but would the Government really be focussing on this issue if examples of exploitation under the 457 visa program had not been raised by unions and the media?

In fact, while the number of visas the Government has been issuing has sky-rocketed, its monitoring and compliance efforts have been falling.

The Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs admitted in its annual report released last week that less than two thirds of employers sponsoring migrants on the visas were monitored last year, down from almost 100 per cent in the previous two years.

The Government has also admitted that site checks were conducted on only 18 per cent of employers hiring migrants on the visas - short of the Department's own target of 25 per cent.

The drop in compliance checks came as the number of workers who were issued s457 visas grew by more than 40 per cent in 2005-06, to 40,000 and the number of employer sponsors grew by 20% to nearly 10,000," said Ms Burrow.

"The Federal Government's overseas worker program is creating a group of second-class workers in Australia.

It is a program that is out of control and should be immediately halted," said Ms Burrow.


Contact Details
Ian Wilson
Ph:  0408 513 849
iwilson@actu.asn.au
Combet Meets the Press


Combet tells what it's like under the Howard government for a worker in Australia

check it out - click here

Federal Elections

Workers Urged to Encourage Young People To Enrol to Vote

Cowra Update


Cowra

According to the Howard Government everything that went on at the Cowra abattoir, sacking workers to force pay cuts, then taking some back, then declaring itself bankrupt. all of this was fine under the Howard's industrial agenda. (see lower on page) It appears that strange things have happened with money. Is that all OK too Mr Howard?

Cowra Sackings Legal

As Predicted by the Unions - Cowra Sackings Were Legal

Australian workers can be legally sacked and re-employed on lower wages and conditions under the Howard Govt's new IR laws the Government's own workplace watchdog has confirmed today.

The Office of Workplace Services has today released a report that confirms that it was legal for the Cowra abattoir to, as it did in early April, propose sacking 29 meatworkers and re-employ them on wages that involved pay cuts of around 30% or up to $180 week lower.

Find out more

Building Workers threatened

Building Workers Threatened

Workers in the building industry can expect to be threatened with jail if they don't answer questions from the quasi - industrial police force, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

AWAs Cut Pay & Conditions


AWAs Cut Pay & Conditions

Official data shows individual work contracts (AWAs) are being extensively used under the new IR laws to cut the take home pay of workers and to axe penalty rates, shift allowances and annual leave loading.

Anniversary Eight Hour Day

 

In 1856 the 8 hour day was won for the first time. Eight hours work, eight hours leisure and eight hours sleep. 150 years later we are having to fight for it again.

 

Negotiating AWA


Howard says that individual workers will be better off negotiating an Australian Workplace Agreement - see how well you would go.
Collectively we can negotiate much better

Join the Union

Building Laws


Building Industry IR Laws Breach Freedom Of Association Principles Says ILO

Howard Attacks


Howard Attacks Workers

The Howard government deprived the vast majority of the country's workers of protection from unfair dismissal. They also passed laws to eliminate fundamental trade union rights. Under the new centralized laws, 99% of employers are able sack employees indiscriminately, workers are being forced onto individual employment contracts, minimum wages are being reduced and they are trying to stop workers from obtaining information and assistance from their unions. Check out ICFTU Response

Repression of MIGRANT TRADE UNION, KCTU

END THE REPRESSION OF MIGRANT WORKERS! STOP THREATENING MTU PRESIDENT ANOWAR! ALLOW HIS PARTICIPATION IN THE ILO ASIAN REGIONAL MEETING!

An urgent situation of labor repression is unfolding in South Korea. In an act of repression against migrant workers and an affront to all workers in Korea, the Korean government is blocking the Migrants Trade Union's President Anowar from participating in the 14th ILO Asian regional meeting and threatening to arrest and deport him.

Background
Migrant workers in Korea generally work in 3D industries and face oppression by their employers and by the Korean government. Most recently the government has been carrying out violent crackdowns and deportations against undocumented migrant workers, causing countless deaths and injuries in the last two years. In order to fight for their rights, migrant workers founded the Migrants Trade Union (MTU) in April 2005. MTU is currently a member of the umbrella Korean Commission of Trade Unions (KCTU). Immediately after this MTU President Anowar was forcibly arrested and imprisoned for a year. The government has never recognized MTU as an official union.

The 14th ILO Asian Regional Meeting is scheduled to take place in Pusan, South Korea from Sept. 1. to Sept 4. KCTU selected President Anowar as a representative to the ILO. He is schedule to speak during a session that will address the issue of migrant labor.

After receiving the list of KCTU representatives the South Korean Ministry of Labor intentionally declined to report President Anowar's name to the ILO general office, saying he could not participate because of his illegal status. Further, the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Justice are now threatening to arrest and deport President Anowar. This is a clear act of labor repression.

This incident demonstrates clearly the extend to which the Korean government ignores the principles and purpose of the ILO and is instead operating on a principle of labor repression. The Korean government is afraid that the world will see its repression of migrant labor and anti-labor policies and is therefore trying to stop President Anowar from participating in the ILO.

Blocking President Anowar's participation in ILO and threatening to deport him is not only a threat to MTU. It is a threat to KCTU's right to choose is own representatives and its autonomy. Therefore it is a threat to all workers in Korea.

Because this matter concerns the Noh Moohyun government's image, international support is essential. We are therefore asking your assistance in pressuring the government to stop its threats and allow President Anowar's participation.

Please email or fax letters of protest with the following demands to the South Korean Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Labor. A form letter is attached here and copied below. Feel free to add your own content in fitting with the demands. Please also forward this message to as many groups and individuals as you can.

MTU Demands.

Stop Threatening President Anowar with arrest and Deportation!
Allow President Anowar's participation in The 14th ILO Asian Regional Meeting!
Respect KCTU autonomy and workers' rights to choose their own representatives!

South Korean Ministry of Justice: fax: 82-2-503-7107, email: webmaster@moj.go.kr
South Korean Ministry of Labor: fax: 82-2-503-6623, email: m_molab@molab.go.kr

To the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Labor of South Korea,

We are writing you to demand that you retract your threat against MTU President Anowar and allow his participation in the 14th ILO Asian Regional Meeting.

Your act to stop President Anowar's participation as a KCTU delegate is a clear violation of KCTU's autonomy and an affront to labor worldwide. Your move to arrest and deport him is an heinous act of repression against migrant workers, which brings international shame to the government of Noh Moohyun.

In the name of labor rights and human rights we ask you comply with the following demands.
1. Stop Threatening President Anowar with arrest and deportation!
2. Allow President Anowar's participation in the 14th ILO Asian Regional Meeting!
3. Respect KCTU autonomy and workers' right to choose their own representatives!
To the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Labor of South Korea,

We are writing you to demand that you retract your threat against MTU President Anowar and allow his participation in the 14th ILO Asian Regional Meeting.

Your act to stop President Anowar's participation as a KCTU delegate is a clear violation of KCTU's autonomy and an affront to labor worldwide. Your move to arrest and deport him is an heinous act of repression against migrant workers, which brings international shame to the government of Noh Moohyun.

In the name of labor rights and human rights we ask you comply with the following demands.

1. Stop Threatening President Anowar with arrest and deportation!
2. Allow President Anowar's participation in the 14th ILO Asian Regional Meeting!
3. Respect KCTU autonomy and workers' right to choose their own representatives!

Sincerely, To the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Labor of South Korea,

We are writing you to demand that you retract your threat against MTU President Anowar and allow his participation in the 14th ILO Asian Regional Meeting.

 Driving Down Wages


WorkChoices is driving down workers' wages

 

 Wave Hill


Wave Hill Strike For Indigenous Workers' Rights - 40 Year Commemoration

 

 Contractor

Howard has pushed through his Industrial Relations Law - Now he's moving on to Independant Contractors Law -
More Attacks on Workers

 Let's Look


"The upcoming legislation leaves huge groups of workers isolated and vulnerable. Far from creating a modernised industrial relations system, this is an Americanised, pre-modern return to the law of the jungle. Is this what we want in the free trade era? Stripping Australia of its industrial relations system is a dangerous call." - Carla Lipsig-Mumme, The Age

 Stop Deportations

Australians Oppose Deportations

Thousands of Victorians rallied 20 June to mark World Refugee Day and to demonstrate against the Howard Government's inhumane treatment of asylum seekers.
Refugee groups, churches, politicians and unions joined rallies around Australia this weekend to mark United Nations World Refugee Day. 
The demonstration called for permanent residency for 8,000 refugees living in Australia. 
It called on the Howard Government to grant permanent residency to temporary protection visa holders and to end mandatory detention for asylum seekers.
Temporary refugees in Australia live in limbo despite a proven risk of persecution. Many have seen their temporary protection visas expire and now face deportation back to the countries from which they fled.
Refugees have already suffered. Many fled torture and persecution or lost family members to war. In the case of Iraqi and Afghani refugees, the Howard Government took Australia to war against their countries but will not offer continued protection for their people.
Australia should show some compassion and end the years of uncertainty for these people by granting them permanent residency.

 Labour Start

Do you want to know what is going on in Struggles around the world? Check out
Labourstart.

 Iranian Unionist Refugee


Iranian unionist jailed by Howard Government since 2000 - Released at last

Daryoush Hooshmand Nejad is an electrician and union activist who fled to Australia from Iran over four years ago. He was fleeing for his life from the brutal Iranian government. Instead of being given refugee status, however, Daryoush was then locked up - without charge or trial - since he arrived in Australia in October 2000.

Daryoush was one of 68 Iranians held in immigration detention in Australia. The Government has over 100 refugees like Daryoush locked in Baxter, along with around 150 other people. All the refugees have been detained for over three years, some for up to six years - simply for fleeing to Australia to find safety. Another 54 refugees are still jailed on the island of Nauru, and some dozens more in Australian Government funded internment camps in Indonesia.

Daryoush struggled for his freedom since being locked up by the Australian Government. Before Christmas 2004 he was involved in a hunger strike at Baxter detention centre. Like many others in Baxter, Daryoush suffers from serious stress and mental illness as a result of his long and unjust detention.  The stress was so severe that he attempted suicide.

At long last Daryoush was released, having been held for four years and ten months.

As unionists, we know that we all go forward together or we all go back together. We know that the Australian government is attacking refugees to promote racism and divide us from our fellow workers.  No doubt workers' solidarity helped to obtain his release

We are serious when we say "an injury to one is an injury to all". Today we must give solidarity to  many more refugees who are in his situation.

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