Number 18 29 May 2022
NSW LABOR COUNCIL - 150 YEARS
From Mark Morey Secretary, Unions NSW: This week we celebrated 150 years of the NSW Trades and Labor Council.
From the Eight Hour Day to securing leave entitlements and advocating for equal pay, our history is brimming with accomplishments that created better wages, conditions and rights in the workplace.
The fight for workers' rights in NSW isn't just written in our proud history, but lays before us on job sites, in offices and in homes around the state. It made me immensely proud when, three weeks ago, unions won 10 days of paid family and domestic violence (FDV) leave for all awards in Australia. As I write to you, we're negotiating with NSW Transport to set a precedent of 20 days of FDV leave and best practice sexual harassment policies to ensure all workers feel safe in their workplace.
Despite being told it was impossible, we have also had incredible success in fighting for minimum standards and pay rates with companies in the gig economy. There is much more work to be done, but the landmark agreements of the NSW union movement with companies like Airtasker, Foodora and DoorDash are proof that we can and will protect the rights of working people.
Our campaigns for migrant worker's rights - who are one of the most exploited groups of workers in Australia - hit a new high last year, following the release of our landmark research into the horticulture industry. This research proved that farmworkers, who are predominately migrant workers, were systematically paid well below the minimum wage through a system of piece rates. The report was used in evidence by affiliates to abolish the arcane practice of piece rates in the agricultural sector.
Unions across the state are continuing to grow and evolve, facing the changing nature of industry head-on. We are determined to broaden union support, expand our reach across new industries and to further engage with the marginalised, the young and the underrepresented workers of our society.
The federal election exemplified this approach of pursuing innovative and effective communication and campaign strategies. One such innovation was teaming up with an online "influencer" to fund a campaign billboard and engage young people. As a result, we engaged with 2.5 million people online, 70% of them under the age of 35. These young people, who often hold some of the most precarious jobs, are the future of the union movement.
From the foundation of the NSW Trades and Labor Council in 1871, and our first council meeting in 1872, we have fought to make NSW a fairer and more prosperous place for working people to live. As the largest community-based member organisation in the country, we will continue to stand for workers long into the future.
For your support over the years, we thank you and look forward to what we will achieve together in the future.
ACTU 4 CAMPAIGNS TO IMPROVE LIVES OF WOMEN
Millions of women across the country are looking to the future more hopeful about the next three years than they were about the last nine. The union movement is hard at work, continuing to campaign for real action to improve the lives of working women.
Here are four campaigns that we believe are essential to improve the lives of working women everywhere:
1. Paid family and domestic violence leave is literally a life-saving right for women. There's already incredible momentum behind us - just last week the union movement made paid 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave a reality for one in four workers across Australia.. We're now working to see that leave cover every worker by adding it to the National Employment Standards.
2. We know free childcare is possible -we've seen it before and we are determined to make it a reality for all families. Appropriately funded, free childcare is vital to support working mums and parents, children and early childhood educators.
3. Every worker should be safe at work and free from sexual harassment. We know the new Federal Government has committed to implementing all 55 recommendations of the Respect@Work Report. We will keep campaigning to make sure women have safety, respect and equity at work.
4. Our new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has shown his government will support a pay increase through the Annual Wage Review so that no worker goes backwards - this will benefit millions of workers, the majority of whom are women. And unions will continue to push for a 5.5% wage increase for Award and minimum wage workers.
All of these campaigns are completely people powered, and only happen with the amazing efforts of union members across the country.
We are so proud of what we have achieved together, and we are ready to do so much more.
Every day, union members prove that change is more than talk it's action we take every day.
Authorised by Dan Dwyer NSW Secretary, Sue Riley Vic Secretary - CWU Telecommunications & Services Branches.