Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Rallies for safety, equal pay and improved wages

Three threads of struggle were woven by South Australian workers in Adelaide last Tuesday.

Working class activists are determined to weave these threads into a powerful strand and to raise them high for the benefit of all workers.

At 12 noon, several hundred construction workers and representatives from a range of unions gathered at the foot of a major construction site in the city.

SA Unions state secretary Janet Giles addressed the rally, held in support of stronger health and safety laws. She was followed by the CFMEU’s Aaron Cartledge and a work-based safety rep from the Nurses Union.

The CPA (M-L) paper Vanguard provides a national perspective on this campaign (see here).

At 1pm, the Business and Professional Women (Australia) lobby group held a rally on the steps of Parliament House in support of pay equity. ABS figures show that as a combined result of the Howard government’s WorkChoices legislation and the current economic crisis, equal pay for women is receding.

Although organised by an organisation representing professional employees, the Liquor and Hospitality Union’s Assistant State Secretary Chris Field was welcomed as a speaker, and provided a summary of the Clean Start campaign which has won important wage and conditions gains for low paid cleaners.

At the same time, in front of the government’s administration centre, several hundred members of the Hospital Services Union were serving notice on the state government that they rejected Treasurer Foley’s announced 2.5% cap on public sector salaries. They were declaring the start of their current round of enterprise bargaining and seeking to bring their salaries in line with those of health care and aged care services workers interstate.

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