Category Archives: Unions

Video: Australian Unions discussions on the future of workplace laws

Australian Unions are fighting to protect the jobs, wages, and rights of every worker in Australia. Australians need fairer and better rights at work. The Australian council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has been invited into talks with employers and the Morrison government, on paper, this is about how to get the economy going again.

Many who strongly suspect that the intention of the government take from workers. Employer organisations have made it clear that they wish to stop wage increase and impose greater labour flexibility, which means more casual and part time jobs. The ACTU is expected to agree.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus puts the case for participation in the talks, and insists that improving wage s share in the economy, and reducing the casualisation of work are core demands. They will not be given away, she insists.

Video from the Australian Council of Trade Unions

May Day 2020 in Melbourne

This year, instead of the usual activities held during the week around 1 May, the main focus was on a Webinar held on Sunday 3 May. It went well, despite the occasional technical hitch. Those who joined in responded quite enthusiastically, and the resolution read out was approved by overwhelming acclaim.

The clip below takes a little while to start. Please be patient. It will come, despite the occasional technical hitch. The clip below takes a little while to start.



There is nothing right about the attack on John Setka

By Joe Montero

The concerted attack on the Victorian secretary of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) is a gross violation of some basic principles.

Yes. John Setka did have some arguments with his wife during the time they were separated. And he did plead guilty to inappropriate behaviour towards her during that time.

Anyone who has gone through this sort of traumatic experience, appreciates that it it brings emotional turmoil, that it complicated, and often generates with both men and women, responses that are out of character.

This in no way justifies bad behaviour towards women. But to use this as a vehicle to attack an individual to further an unrelated agenda, is a disgrace. It belongs in the gutter.

Continuing to peddle the allegation that Setka denigrated Rosie Batty at a meeting, when there are no credible witnesses, and others who were there say it didn’t happen, is not about seeking justice.

It is about carrying out a political vendetta. giving it quarter is to particpate in this political vendetta being driven by the enemies of the union movement.

When major developers and the Coalition ride on allegations like these, it makes a certain sense. The union has had a degree of success in defending jobs, pay and conditions that would be hard to match in any other industry.

Developers and the government they are so cosy with, hold that those who work in the industry take too much and the employers too little. They want to redivide the cake, and to do so, they must make the leadership more compliant and tame the union.

It is something different altogether, when leader of a political party that claims to stand up for the workers uses this as an opportunity to rebrand his party as more like the Liberals.

Saying this might make some people a little uncomfortable. It must be said anyway.

Anthony Albanese’s attack on John Setka is inseparable from the move to rebrand Labor to make it more acceptable to the big end of town, and to market that a range of policies important to Labor Party members and supporters must be reversed, as being the only way to win government.

What would be the point anyway, if it means being a government that imitates what the Coalition does when it’s in government?

It won’t work anyway, and is more likely to cause disillusionment.

Labor has the right to decide who its members and leaders are. The same right applies to other organisations, and this includes unions. Putting external pressure to remove someone is wrong, and a violation of the labour movement’s principle of democratic control.

Protecting each other has always been a pillar of the union movement, and has played a major part in delivering rights inside and outside the workplace.

Precisely when these rights are under greater threat than they have been for a long time, there are those who do not have the balls to stand up for them and are falling over themselves to surrender.

Just a few more words. The rise of gossip as a political weapon is causing considerable problems. The expansion of social media has provided a platform for scoundrels, who use gossip to manipulate others.

For example. Women are not always treated well by men. This must be taken on. But there can never be justification for using this principle to hoodwink people into believing the interests of women are being protected, when nothing could be further from the truth.

It is not John Setka but those who fail to stand for principle, who have paved the way for a serious attack on the ongoing existence of unions.

The Ensuring Integrity Bill is an important part of this attack. Unlike normal laws, which at the very least apply equally to all on paper, this one is deliberately directed towards only unions. It is not meant to be applied to those in business and politicians, where allegations of corruption and other forms of wrongdoing are rife.

The reality is that any union official or delegate properly representing his or her members and carrying out their wishes, must operate under the the difficult conditions of the Fair Work Australia Act, deliberately designed to be discriminatory against unions.

Inthe Act’s application, unions and their representatives are routinely charged and brought before the court. Employers, their organisations and representatives almost never are.

It means union officials and delegates who properly represent the members, will eventually be charged and found guilt of an offense. If it gets up, many will be barred form holding positions, and this could achieve the ambition of rendering the union movement totally ineffective.

Those who join in the John Setka bashing, whether they are conscious of it or not, are actually helping to bring this about.

An end to this bashing is needed, and this must be replaced by a willingness to stand to stand together against the real threat.


Video: Scott Morrison’s so-called ‘Ensuring Integrity’ Bill is an attack on the basic rights of all working people

The Morrison government’s Ensuring Integrity Bill is nothing more than an attempt to launch a major attack on Australia’s union movement through the criminalisation of union activity and deny protection to workers, through law that is heavily weighted to achieve this outcome. One group of Australians is singled out to be treated differently. This is blatant discrimination. The same is not intended for employers break the rules and politicians who are lining their own pockets.

Video by Australian Unions

John Setka faces another trial by media not based on fact

By Joe Montero

The vendetta being carried out against John Setka, the secretary of Victoria’s Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) is wrong. Plain and simple. It is those lining up to sink the boot, who are doing guilty of misconduct.

Respecting the right of women not to be subjected to either physical or verbal abuse is fundamental. We should all agree that no quarter should be given to it. But the accusations being made against Setka are something else.

Two things are being hung out for the purpose of character assassination. The first is Setka’s bad behaviour towards his wife. He admits that is acted wrongly. Both had been under intense pressure for some time, and it had an effect on their relationship. That they are now standing together should count for something, and it is wrong to use this matter for political advantage.

The other is, he has been accused of having said some terrible things against Rosie Batty, the campaigner to stop violence against women.  This allegation came from an individual at a union meeting, who happens to be an opponent of Setka. At the very least, this should be questioned. It hasn’t been.

Others at the same meeting, have publicly stated that what has been attributed to John Setka was not said. But this has been buried under the tide of accusations.

It all boils down to one thing. The outrage being orchestrated, is not really about defending the rights of women. It’s a cynical act by some, manipulating the fact that most Australians want more to be done to protect women at risk to, using the guise of moral outrage, to wage a political war.

The accusations are unsubstantiated, and in the brave new world that Australia is entering, it seems that to be accused in the absence of evidence, is enough to be pronounced guilty.

A slide into targeting individuals through trial by media and the imposition of increasingly undemocratic laws and practices, are the greatest threat to human rights in Australia today. And what is being done to Setka is very much part of this slide.

The media’s role on this, would have pleased Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. For those who don’t know, Goebbels was Germany’s Rupert Murdoch, who became number two to Adolf Hitler.

In Goebbels style, the accusations are stated without proof and repeated again and again, with a good dose of name calling. This is how allegations are used to replace the truth. We are seeing far too much of it about these days.

Unfortunately, new Labor leader Anthony Albanese, for whatever reason is, at least for now, choosing to tow the line, and has even promised to have the union leader removed from the party. By doing this, he is not doing Labor any favours. He is dead wrong to give credence to a lynch mob, far less concerned with the rights of women, than it is about political ambitions.

At the head of it all, sit the Coalition parties and their backers.

John Setka has been victim of organised, relentless and unjust attacks for some time, aimed at throwing enough mud to ensure that some of it may stick.

The timing of this latest attack is important. The Morrison government is poised to move on its intention to change industrial relations laws, and make it much more difficult for unions to operate and meet the needs of their members. It wants to further erode wages and conditions at work, impose more casualised work and more.

The CFMMEU is seen as a significant barrier to these ambitions and Setka the soft target. In the eyes of this government, the union has to go. Hence the move to impose more severe controls on what it can do, and setting the stage for the union’s de-registration in the near future.

The attack on Setka is also a diversion, aimed to take public attention off the core intent. The bonus for the government is, if it serves to hamper the ability of the unions to act together to defend of union rights, so much the better.

Failure to stand behind this attack, will play right into the hands of the Morrison government, and undermine the position of unions as a whole along the way.

Those currently targeting the union leader, whether conscious of it or not, are doing the job for a government, which is proving its scant regard for basic rights, including those of women.

They should pull themselves out of this muck.