International Women's Day Rally

March 06, 2020 at 5:15pm - 6:15pm

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To mark International Women's Day, UnionsWA is holding a rally on Friday 6 of March from 5:15pm. Please RSVP with your details below.

We're coming together in support of the many battles that women are facing in the workplace - closing the gender pay gap, ending discrimination and improving basic workplace entitlements such as paid domestic violence leave. Everyone is welcome. Bring along your own posters, union flags, signs and badges!

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Politics, Poetry and Class

March 10, 2020 at 5:30pm - 7:30pm

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Dr John Falzon is Senior Fellow, Inequality and Social Justice at Per Capita. He was national CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society from 2006 to 2018. He has written and spoken widely on neoliberalism and the structural causes of inequality. He is the author of The language of the unheard (2012) and a collection of poems, Communists like us (2017). Join us on Tuesday 10 March for an entertaining and insightful address, on Politics, Poetry and Class. About this Dr Falzon writes:

"We are deep in the guts of a crisis that neoliberalism, and its partners in social crime, patriarchy and colonisation, have created. It is only the working class, organised collectively in the union movement, that can lead the transformation of this crisis into a fruitful struggle for the kind of society we yearn for. But to build our movement we need to understand how the ruling class throws everything it has into dividing us. This workshop will analyse the meaning of class, explaining how everything is political and how our struggles are connected. It will also reflect on how the hard work of hope and the joy of fighting side by side for social justice are radical acts of poetry as well as being personal acts of politics. Poetry, like all creativity, belongs to everybody. It is simply a way for us to nourish our souls for the struggle, as well as being a powerful weapon in that struggle, a way of speaking the truth, an act of resistance against the smoothness of lies."

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Time to Reinvest in the Public Sector

UnionsWA has commented on the release of the Mid-Year Financial Projections for 2019-20. The projections indicate improved finances bringing the budget back to a surplus of $2.6 billion. UnionsWA encourages the government to redirect spending to investing in the public sector.

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New Silica Standard Welcomed

Today Safe Work Australia has published a revised Workplace Exposure Standards for Airborne Contaminants which will include a revised standard for respirable crystalline silica to an average of .05mg/m3 reduced from the current standard of .1mg/m3.

Following the devastating discovery of silicosis affecting hundreds of workers from the artificial stone industry Australian governments met in November and agreed to the new standard.
Unfortunately, due to Western Australia not yet to adopting harmonised Work, Health and Safety laws the standard cannot be automatically applied here. The laws were recently introduced into parliament by the McGowan Government [1].
Exposure to silica dust is commonly caused through working with artificial stone such as kitchen benchtops and in mining and construction.
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Wage theft action needed

UnionsWA has welcomed the release today by the WA Government of the report of the inquiry into wage theft led by Tony Beech, former Chief Commissioner of the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. The report and response by the government are available online here.

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Modern work safety Bill welcomed

UnionsWA has today welcomed the tabling in the WA Parliament by the McGowan Government of its Bill to modernise workplace health and safety law in WA.  The safety at work of almost all working people in WA, over 1.3 million people, is governed by these laws. 

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New WA work health survey; old laws inadequate

UnionsWA has today released the results of a major work health and safety survey of over 1,500 West Australians.  The report release anticipates a work health and safety reform Bill that the McGowan Government has committed to introduce into the WA Parliament before it closes for 2019 and current consultations to overhaul existing work health and safety regulations. The survey report can be viewed and downloaded online here:

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ABS data: discrimination damning

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People with Disability WA Inc. (PwDWA) and UnionsWA have today commented on new West Australian specific data recently released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on the incidence of discrimination faced by people with disability, which includes working people that have acquired an injury, disease or been harmed through employment. You can view Samantha Jenkinson, ED of PwDWA address media in this video:

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TAFE Fee Relief Welcome

UnionsWA has welcomed the announcement by the McGowan Government of widespread reductions in TAFE fees to support job skills training in many key areas.

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WA job search data needs action

UnionsWA has today released research it has undertaken with Professor Alison Preston that analyses Australian Bureau of Statistics data on duration of job search across regions within WA recently released and over the past decade. Today around 22,000 West Australians have been searching for work for more than a year. The research shows that the duration of job search has risen sharply in WA, but significantly so in Perth North West, Perth North East, Perth South East, Mandurah and the Wheatbelt regions of WA. UnionsWA has called for more to be done to support unemployed job seekers, including increasing the Newstart Allowance and a greater effort by Federal and State governments to grow local jobs.

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WA safety measures welcome

UnionsWA has today welcomed the announcement by Premier McGowan of measures to improve work health and safety.

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Stone work danger standard reviewed today

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Following the diagnosis of silicosis affecting over a hundred workers in Queensland, the extent of this epidemic in WA will unknown until a recently announced program of workplace inspections by WorkSafe is complete. Two months ago, there were three publicly confirmed and recent diagnoses. However, sources have confirmed a further two such cases in WA. As Federal and State Government work safety representatives meet today to consider a new work heathy and safety standard for exposure to silica dust, UnionsWA has called for that standard to be set at a world best, not a mediocre level. Exposure to silica dust is commonly caused through working kitchen benchtops and in mining and studies have established a fatal link with the incidence of lung cancer, silicosis and fibrosis. The Asbestos Diseases Society of Australia has also provided comment on its health monitoring services and expertise currently available to sufferers.

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