Workers Issues in Australia & the Pacific

Australia: Labor and unions responsible for banning of NSW rail strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 February 2018

The January 29 strike was banned by the Fair Work Commission, the pro-business industrial tribunal created by Labor, with the support of the unions.

Australian mining union isolates locked out Oaky North workers

By Terry Cook, 3 February 2018

The six-month lockout of coal miners is the longest in Australian history.

Thousands of Indian health workers strike; teachers protest in China

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 February 2018

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Australia: Government-union “negotiations” stall in NSW rail dispute

By Oscar Grenfell, 2 February 2018

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union said it will enforce a court ban on any industrial action, while seeking a sell-out deal with the state government.

Australia: Lack of safety system contributed to injuries in rail crash

By Eric Ludlow, 29 January 2018

The Automatic Train Protection system would have reduced the seriousness of last week’s crash of a suburban train in Sydney, says expert.

Chinese workers protest over “black lung” disease; Indian auto-parts workers demonstrate

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

27 January 2018

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Australia: Fair Work Commission bans Monday’s NSW rail strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 25 January 2018

To combat the ruling, workers must break with Labor and the unions, and reject their bogus claims that the big business tribunal is an “independent umpire.”

Australian Paper workers strike over wages and conditions

By our correspondents, 25 January 2018

While the workers at Preston are determined to fight the company’s attack, the AMWU has left them isolated and is preparing a sellout deal.

Australia: Workers reject union-government attempts to cancel NSW rail strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 24 January 2018

Rail workers responded with hostility to the union’s attempt to call off Monday’s stoppage, on the basis of an “offer” providing no details of the government’s demands for cuts to jobs and conditions.

Australian rail accident causes 16 injuries

By Eric Ludlow, 23 January 2018

The train crash in Sydney highlights the deterioration of the city’s rail network, which is creating the conditions for new disasters.

Australian rail workers, bus drivers and commuters support NSW train strike

By our reporters, 22 January 2018

Train staff, passengers and other sections of workers speak out in favour of a planned stoppage to fight the attacks on jobs, wages and conditions.

Australia: Union officials desperately trying to prevent NSW rail strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 January 2018

The union has held backroom discussions with the government to suppress the stoppage, fearing it could become the focal point of a broader movement of the working class.

Australian power workers vote for industrial action

By Terry Cook, 20 January 2018

The overwhelming vote to strike reflects widespread anger over years of cost cutting, including a de facto wage freeze, enforced by the trade unions.

Striking cleaners occupy Korean university; Australian Paper plant workers strike indefinitely

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

20 January 2018

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Australia: New South Wales rail workers to strike for 24 hours

By Oscar Grenfell, 18 January 2018

The rail union is seeking to prevent the stoppage, which reflects explosive anger among workers over the gutting of wages and conditions.

Sri Lankan nurses strike over fingerprint attendance system; Australian power workers vote for industrial action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

13 January 2018

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Australia: Port Kembla Coal Terminal locks out workers

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 January 2018

The move is part of a stepped-up offensive against mining, haulage and ports workers.

Australian aged care workers confront worsening conditions

By Michelle Stevens, 9 January 2018

Decades of government funding cuts, combined with the rise of corporate profit-making operators, have led to severe under-staffing.

Australian rail union collaborating with Pacific National to impose sell-out agreement

By Terry Cook, 8 January 2018

The RTBU deal further erodes working conditions, real wages and opens the way for increased casualisation.

South Australian Labor government slashes public sector jobs

By Oscar Grenfell, 8 January 2018

The sackings indicate that the state election this March will be dominated by further austerity commitments from the main parties.

Thousands of private health care doctors strike in India

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

6 January 2018

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Australian Council of Trade Unions launches cynical campaign against casual employment

By Oscar Grenfell, 4 January 2018

The unions, working with successive Labor and conservative governments, have played the central role in the destruction of full-time jobs.

Amazon begins operations in Australia

By Patrick Kelly, 28 December 2017

Amazon is notorious internationally for its appalling treatment of warehouse workers.

Australian retail union reportedly signs another wage-cutting deal with Woolworths

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 December 2017

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association is acting as an arm of Woolworths management in its drive to slash wages in response to Amazon’s Australian opening.

Australia high court ruling imposes greater restrictions on industrial action

By Terry Cook, 16 December 2017

The court decision is another means for banning industrial action and imposing heavy fines and penalties on workers seeking to defend their wages and conditions.

Construction worker killed in horrific incident at Australian gas project

By John Harris, 15 December 2017

The tragic death at the INPEX gas project was not an aberration but the result of increasing company productivity demands ratified by the unions.

Australian union imposes cost-cutting deal on Hunter Valley miners

By Terry Cook, 13 December 2017

Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union agreements with Glencore in New South Wales will allow the international mining giant to further boost its profits.

Australian maritime union maintains picket at Victorian port

By Will Morrow, 9 December 2017

The MUA’s real concern is to advance itself as an industrial police force for the company against the workers.

Australia: Union negotiates cost-cutting deal at Streets ice-cream

By Richard Phillips, 25 November 2017

Streets workers must reject the latest union-company deal which opens the way for increased productivity and even higher profits for the giant Unilever-owned corporation.

Australian unions push another sell-out agreement at Western Sydney University

By our correspondents, 17 November 2017

The NTEU is attempting to impose another retrograde enterprise deal that will assist management to deepen cuts to jobs and conditions.

National Australia Bank to eliminate 6,000 jobs

By John Harris, 13 November 2017

The gutting of bank jobs and services has accelerated since the Keating Labor government began the privatisation of the Commonwealth Bank in 1991.

Indian government bans ambulance workers’ walkout, South Korean teachers vote on strike action

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

11 November 2017

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Australian contract company continues assault on maintenance workers

By Terry Cook, 9 November 2017

The unions are isolating 200 workers confronting UGL’s attempts to tear up existing wages and conditions.

Pakistan: Punjab government field health workers protest

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

4 November 2017

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Australian rail union suspends industrial action in Pacific National dispute

By Terry Cook, 2 November 2017

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union called off all industrial action as it moved to broker another sell-out agreement.

Australia: Possible Woolworths strikes spark warnings of a broader wages movement

By Oscar Grenfell, 31 October 2017

As many as 2,000 workers at four major warehouses are set to take industrial action over wages and conditions in the next two months.

Apple iPhone workers protest in China

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

28 October 2017

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Australian statistics show collapse in manufacturing, mounting jobs crisis

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 October 2017

Part-time and precarious employment accounts for an ever-greater proportion of the workforce.

Free, high quality public education is a social right! Join the Committee For Public Education!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 27 October 2017

Australia has one of the most unequal and privatised school systems in the world.

Australian government orders police raids on union offices

By Mike Head, 26 October 2017

Australia increasingly resembles a police state, with well-publicized raids carried out in pursuit of unstated political aims.

New Zealand: Official silence over Taylor Preston meatworks death

By John Braddock, 23 October 2017

The ongoing silence serves to protect the legal and financial position of the company at the expense of workers.

South Korean media workers continue strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

21 October 2017

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Australia: Glencore steps up provocations against locked-out miners

By Terry Cook, 20 October 2017

The giant company is seeking to force through an enterprise agreement that slashes pay and working conditions.

Political lessons of the Australian car industry closure

By Oscar Grenfell, 20 October 2017

The shutdowns are the end product of a decades-long restructuring of car manufacturing, spearheaded by Labor and the trade unions.

Australian university unions divide opposition to sell-out deals

By our correspondents, 18 October 2017

Far from opposing the combined government-university administration offensive, the two trade unions covering university staff are facilitating it.

Australia: Ipswich workers condemn hundreds of job losses

By our correspondents, 17 October 2017

“We vote the governments in to look after the people, but they are looking after the multinationals.”

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 October 2017

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Australia: Ipswich workers denounce elimination of hundreds of jobs

By our correspondents, 4 October 2017

The Queensland Labor government and the trade union are enforcing the closures, insisting that workers can find jobs elsewhere, despite the city’s high jobless rate.

Australian job figures cloak reality

By Terry Cook, 2 October 2017

High levels of unemployment, under-employment and casualisation are putting downward pressure on wages.

Australian university union pushes sellout deals across the country

By our correspondents, 30 September 2017

The National Tertiary Education Union used a national briefing to block debate and insist that members accept new enterprise agreements that further undermine jobs and conditions.

NTEU betrays staff at University of Sydney

By our correspondent, 30 September 2017

Despite considerable anger and bewilderment among the 450 staff members at a union branch meeting on September 21, the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) pushed through an initial vote for a major sellout of its members at the University of Sydney. The final vote was 301 for and 139 against, reflecting developing concern about the union’s role.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

23 September 2017

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Australia: Two Ipswich meatworks to close, destroying hundreds of jobs

By Gary Alvernia, 21 September 2017

The state Labor government and the meatworkers' union are working to ensure there is no organised opposition to the devastating closures.

University of Sydney union conceals political issues in one-day strike

By our reporters, 21 September 2017

Just days after the 24-hour stoppage, the NTEU struck a retrograde deal with management that will help it impose the government’s cuts.

Oppose the NTEU sellout at University of Sydney! For a unified struggle of all university workers across Australia!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 20 September 2017

The union is organising retrograde agreements across the university sector.

Australia: New “learning precinct” ties public schools to business

By David Cohen, 18 September 2017

The project has little to do with the quality of education; its priority is the Victorian state government’s relationship with the financial and corporate elites.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

9 September 2017

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Australian state government and health union shut down pathology strike

By Jason Quill and Oscar Grenfell, 7 September 2017

The Health Services Union welcomed the Victorian Labor government’s application for the federal Fair Work Commission to ban the stoppage.

Australia: National Tertiary Education Union attempts to suppress struggle against job cuts at Western Sydney University

By our correspondent, 4 September 2017

The jobs of around 150 professional staff will be destroyed and all security employees retrenched, while other devastating cuts are being prepared.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

2 September 2017

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1917: The Great Strike—an engrossing exhibition about mass walkouts in wartime Australia

By Elle Chapman and Richard Phillips, 24 August 2017

The exhibition is a useful antidote to the government’s glorification of Australian involvement in World War I and shows that the home-front was dominated by intense class battles.

Australian unions, pseudo-left sign up to Labor’s re-election campaign

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 August 2017

Underlying the unions campaign is fear in ruling circles that widespread disaffection over social inequality threatens the stability of the parliamentary set-up.

Australia: Official figures continue to cloak jobs crisis

By Terry Cook, 1 August 2017

The official employment report for June shows there is little to celebrate for the tens of thousands of people engaged in a daily search for work.

The Australian Education Union’s 2017 campaign of misinformation and censorship

By Susan Allan and Linda Tenenbaum, 26 July 2017

Union officials concealed that the EBA contains the adoption of measures proposed in the “Bracks Review,” which escalate the pro-market agenda now underpinning public education.

Australian unions isolate miners facing attacks on pay and conditions

By Terry Cook, 15 July 2017

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union has restricted the Glencore workers to token stoppages.

Australian cricket pay dispute escalates

By Oscar Grenfell, 15 July 2017

Cricketing administrators are seeking to boost their control over billions of dollars of broadcasting and online streaming revenue.

India: Kerala nurses on state-wide strike

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

15 July 2017

The nurses rejected a pay offer of 17,500 rupees, including allowances, from the government and the Private Hospitals Association.

Australian building experts discuss the Grenfell Tower fire

By our reporters, 12 July 2017

“Fire safety is more important than the façade of a building,” building inspector says.

More Australian workers killed in preventable workplace incidents

By Terry Cook, 11 July 2017

The number of industry-related fatalities this year is on track to match or exceed the grim toll in 2016 when 178 workers were killed.

Australian Labor and union leaders seek to head off workers’ discontent

By Mike Head, 7 July 2017

Speeches at last week’s ACTU 90th anniversary dinner signal desperate efforts to promote the return of another pro-business Labor government.

Australian unions help impose cuts to federal pay and conditions

By Terry Cook, 1 July 2017

The unions’ aim was to wear down workers’ resistance and retain their own position at the negotiating table.

Australian Education Union pushes through pro-market workplace agreement in Victoria

By Susan Allan and Linda Tenenbaum, 1 July 2017

Endorsement of the agreement opens the way for an acceleration of the destructive pro-market agenda that has created a systemic crisis in public education.

Electrician falls 75 feet to his death at Detroit construction site

By Kathleen Martin, 29 June 2017

Michael Morrison, 46, died after falling from a catwalk at the Little Caesars sports arena currently under construction in Detroit.

Australian university staff face cuts to pay, jobs and basic rights

By Mike Head, 28 June 2017

Government funding cuts are accelerating the pro-business restructuring of higher education that began three decades ago.

Australian construction union’s bogus campaign against industrial laws

By Oscar Grenfell, 27 June 2017

The CFMEU’s chief aim is to maintain its own privileged seat at the negotiating table and divert mounting anger among construction workers into electoral support for the Labor Party.

The way forward for New Zealand meat workers

By the Socialist Equality Group (New Zealand), 27 June 2017

A struggle to defend jobs and conditions is only possible through a break with the Meat Workers Union and the Labour Party, the formation of independent workplace committees and a political fight based on a socialist and internationalist program.

Australia: Telstra announces 1,400 job cuts

By Oscar Grenfell, 21 June 2017

The sackings are the latest in a series of pro-market restructures that have destroyed up to 6,000 jobs since 2013.

Australian miners strike against Glencore cost-cutting

By Terry Cook, 20 June 2017

Some 1,400 coal miners took industrial action against the transnational mining and resources conglomerate’s attempts to slash working conditions.

Australian state Labor government agrees to subsidise giant coal mine

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 13 June 2017

After weeks of posturing, the Queensland cabinet provided a lucrative royalties handout to Adani.

Australia: Aurizon announces Queensland rail closures

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 June 2017

Up to 300 jobs are set to be eliminated, following hundreds of sackings over the past two years.

Reject unacceptable workloads and standardised testing! Take a stand for public education!

Vote No to the AEU-Labor government sell-out deal in Victoria!

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 9 June 2017

The chronic underfunding, under-resourcing and under-staffing of public schools is driving many parents to send their children to private schools.

New Zealand: Wellington transport workers face attacks on jobs and conditions

By our correspondents, 6 June 2017

The Labour Party-dominated Wellington Council has awarded bus and rail contracts to private operators to cut costs at the expense of workers.

“Catastrophic failure” of regulators led to black lung among Australian miners

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 June 2017

Queensland authorities failed to look for, or properly identify, coal miners’ pneumoconiosis for more than 30 years.

Socialist Equality Party forum discusses agenda behind Australian Education Union sell-out deal

By our reporter, 5 June 2017

A clear relationship exists between the anti-democratic, bureaucratic tactics employed by the AEU to obtain a majority “yes” vote and the regressive, pro-market content of its 2017 agreement.

Australian city council locks out electricians for imposing work bans

By Ellen Blake, 3 June 2017

The Brisbane City Council’s aggressive action underscores the determination of governments and employers across the country to dismantle workers’ conditions.

Class struggle developing on Indian sub-continent

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

3 June 2017

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Australian timber mill slated to close

By Will Morrow, 1 June 2017

The closure, in the state of Victoria, is part of a restructuring by Carter Holt Harvey and other producers across the timber industry.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

27 May 2017

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Australian building workers hit by construction company collapse

By Declan O’Malley, 23 May 2017

The Brisbane shut-down is another indicator of the danger of a wider collapse in the residential construction boom, threatening tens of thousands of jobs.

Australia: Teachers explain why the AEU-government deal should be rejected

By our reporters, 22 May 2017

“The union has become the policeman to enforce agreements that sell our conditions down the drain.”

Australia: Contract teacher voices opposition to the AEU-government agreement

By our reporters, 20 May 2017

“I feel as though we’re teaching to a test, and not spending enough time on building our relationship with our students, and building on their strengths.”

SEP and Victorian Teachers and ES Staff Forum

The political issues in the fight against the AEU-Labor government EBA

20 May 2017

The forum on May 28 will present a detailed critique of the Australian Education Union’s sell-out deal with the Andrews Labor government, and clarify why teachers and ES staff should reject it.

Miners walkout in Indonesia and Australia

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

20 May 2017

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Sydney bus drivers strike against privatisation

By Oscar Grenfell, 19 May 2017

The transport union has appealed to the government for “consultation,” underscoring its willingness to collaborate with privatisation.

Australian teachers support campaign against AEU-government deal

By our reporters, 18 May 2017

Teachers who attended recent delegates meetings on the new enterprise agreement voiced support for a “No” vote.

Australia:

Teachers criticise anti-democratic character of AEU delegates’ meetings

By our reporters, 17 May 2017

“I think people voted without understanding the nitty-gritty of the agreement.”

Vote “NO” to the EBA!

Australian Education Union pushes through industrial agreement at delegates’ meetings

By our reporters, 16 May 2017

SEP members and supporters who work in public education are campaigning for a “No” vote among rank-and-file teachers and ES staff.

Australia: Tribunal to hear challenge to union-company wage-cutting deal

By Oscar Grenfell, 16 May 2017

The unions and the major corporations are fearful that the case against the deal threatens the entire pro-business framework of enterprise bargaining.

After Australian journalists’ strike

The political issues facing Fairfax workers

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 11 May 2017

The end of the week-long strike and the commitment of the media union to resume back-room negotiations for the destruction of jobs, poses major political issues before Fairfax workers.

Australian media union shuts down week-long Fairfax journalists’ strike

By Oscar Grenfell, 10 May 2017

The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, having done everything to contain and weaken the strike, made clear that it will do nothing to oppose the axing of 125 jobs at Fairfax.