Secretary's Message - April eWorker 2017

Tuesday 04th April 2017

The AWU recently held its National Conference – an important opportunity for AWU delegates and officials to gather and discuss the big issues affecting our members and union.

This year’s Conference – Bigger Bolder Better – certainly tackled some of the key issues confronting our members and the industries we represent along with how our union can ensure we are adaptable and responsive to these issues.

As members would know, in 2014 the AWU launched Reserve our Gas, a campaign urging the Federal Government to implement a gas reservation policy.  Australia is the only nation in the world that gives foreign gas companies open access to its gas fields for export. 

Australia now has an energy emergency of its own making.  That’s why we’re asking Malcolm Turnbull to renegotiate our gas contracts and ensure Australians’ get a better deal. 

In terms of a bad deal, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) has announced a decision to radically cut Sunday and public holiday pay.  This decision directly affects AWU members in Queensland who work in retail, hospitality, restaurants and fast food.

Families across Australia rely on penalty rates to put food on the table every week and to keep households afloat in difficult times.

This decision now leaves the door open for pay cuts for all Australians who rely on penalty rates and public holiday pay to support themselves and their families, including nurses and all other frontline emergency service workers.

Some workers stand to lose as much as $6,000 per year.  No worker will be better off as a result of this decision, a decision that came a day after figures showed record low wage growth of 1.8% for the year.

That is why we are launching the AWU “Penalty Rates Matter” campaign – and telling Malcolm Turnbull why penalty rates matter – to you, to your family and to all Queenslanders.  AWU Organisers will be visiting sites over the next couple of months to speak with members about this important campaign and what you can do to help.

Finally, Labour Day is just around the corner – our theme this year is “AWU Strong – Union Proud” and we encourage all members to come along and proudly march with our union.  It’s a great day out for families and we hope to see you there.

In unity,

Ben Swan