Many, many Queenslanders joined community activities in early May to protect penalty rates and show their support for union achievements at Labour Day.
Around 30,000 marched in Brisbane, while many thousands more participated in marches and family activities in other centres throughout Queensland.
Recent months have featured several wins for union members, with workers in aged care repelling an attack on penalty rates, while a concerted community campaign forced a Turnbull government backdown on cuts to paid parental leave.
These victories are tempered by the marking of Workers Memorial Day, where unions and community supporters remember those who have been killed and injured at work, and renew focus on improving workplace health and safety laws. There has been progress on this with laws creating a new offence – “negligence causing death” – soon to be introduced into Parliament.
Elsewhere, Queensland unions lent support to striking journalists at Fairfax Media, protesting against the publishing giant which plans to cut jobs but also hand its CEO a multi-million dollar payrise!
Maritime workers are facing a similar struggle, where seafarer jobs are being pushed offshore simply to boost the bottom line at resources giant BMA. Queensland Unions supported their action at BMA headquarters in Brisbane, and will continue the fight.
Education unions have also been active, speaking out over federal Budget proposals around schools and higher education funding.
Thanks to all unions for their support in Queensland’s Labour Day activities. That collective effort and shared energy is a great sign for continued success in what’s left of 2017!