The peak ACTU Congress met this week with AMWU delegates playing an important part in deciding the union movement’s policies to improve the lives of working Australians and defeat the Abbott Government agenda.
Highlights included approval of a new $13 million Build A Better Future strategy to enhance the ACTU as a modern campaigning force, new ways to empower women members and policies to protect workers’ industrial rights and the social wage.
Protecting the social wage – universal health, education, retirement incomes, maternity leave – is part of a “social compact” at the heart of the Build A Better Future strategy.
“This ACTU Congress was significant in modernising the way the union movement will campaign in the community, face-to-face and on social media,” said AMWU National Secretary Paul Bastian.
Building votes: Conference delegates give their unanimous support. Picture: Jorge de Araujo/ACTU
Mr Bastian said: “We will be fighting back against the Abbott Government moves to destroy trade unions and our ability to protect workers’ industrial rights, we’ll be out in marginal seats as we were in recent state elections.
“But beyond elections, unions will keep up our grassroots campaigning to build support for decent health, education and a social safety net so that everyone gets the best chance in life for a good job, a good future.”
Other features of the 2015 ACTU Congress were:
*A move to enshrine in law the requirement for employers to disclose relevant financial information at time of bargaining to ensure honesty, fairness and good faith
*Extra pressure on the Federal Government to protect Australian jobs and stop exploitation as official figues indicate that about 10 per cent of workers are now in this country are on a variety of temporary work visas
* Support for a new national portable entitlements system covering leave and other matters for the increasing number of workers in short-term jobs, often changing employers
*Australian of the Year Rosie Batty backing the ACTU case for two weeks paid leave for victims of domestic violence as a minimum standard
*A call to extend the Government paid parental leave scheme to 26 weeks
*Moves to promote women to more union leadership positions, including 50-50 with men in the ACTU senior ranks
*A fresh focus on how we can improve the job security and conditions of members in at a time of massive disruption of markets, businesses and supply chains due to digital technology
*Stepping up the campaign on workers' compensation to stop the Federal Government’s bid to enlarge Comcare to destroy state workers compensation schemes (sign our petition here)
*A call for greater controls over natural gas exports so 20 per cent supply is kept by law for Australian businesses and homes at a reasonable price
*Re-election unopposed of Dave Oliver as ACTU Secretary and Ged Kearney as ACTU President
The very successful Congress wrapped up after 3 days – onwards and upwards.