Tens of thousands of workers turned out today in Brisbane in a show of community support to change the rules to address growing inequality in Australia.
Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ros McLennan said Queensland workers were concerned that their pay rises were not keeping up with the increasing cost of living.
Up to 20,000 workers were estimated to have rallied just after midday in Emma Miller Place in Roma St before marching to the Eagle St headquarters of the Fair Work Commission.
Ms McLennan told the crowd that working people were counting on the Change the Rules campaign to reverse growing inequality in Australia.
“We need secure work that’s valued, not a dog eat dog race to the bottom. We need to put people not profits at the centre of the economy so you can actually earn enough to support you and your family.
“We need to restore the right to withdraw our labour, the right to strike, because it’s the only way we can level the playing field and claim a share of the big business profits that our labour helps create,” she said.
ACTU Secretary Sally McManus said the Change the Rules rallies across the country in the past few weeks were the largest seen in more than a decade because Australian workers would not tolerate increasing inequality.
“They will not put up with their jobs being casualised, with record levels of insecure work, at a time when there is record pay for CEOs and record profits for big business.
“We will not rest until we get rid of this rotten Morrison government and their band of muppets,” she told the cheering crowd.
“We will not rest until we change the rules. We will not rest until the rich pay their fair share of tax and workers have the rights we need to win our fair share of pay rises and secure jobs,” she said.
Early childhood educator Tracey Bell told the crowd that she was only paid $22 per hour despite her qualifications.
“The low pay in my industry has had a huge impact on my life. As a single mother of two, I’ve never been able to afford a house. There have been times when I’ve struggled to pay bills, stressed about putting food on the table, and gone without things many take for granted,” she said.
“It’s disgraceful that the Liberal Government continues to dismiss us, and disrespect the work of early childhood educators.
“I know how important it is for working people – working women especially – to stand up against a bad federal government that has failed us. We deserve better, and our children deserve so much better.
“And we won’t stop fighting until we change the rules and change the government!”