Workers Issues in Australia & the Pacific

Australian public sector workers reject government pay offer

By Terry Cook, 25 September 2015

The CPSU has kept workers divided along departmental lines, while appealing to the Turnbull government for negotiations on its cost-cutting demands.

Unions push protectionism while pledging to impose steel job cuts at Wollongong rally

By Zac Hambides, 22 September 2015

At a “Save Our Steel” rally the unions sought to channel the anger over job losses into nationalist calls for governments to subsidise local steel producers.

Australian UGL workers condemn union’s role in retrenchments

By Mike Head, 21 September 2015

Workers at UGL’s Auburn railway workshops in Sydney last week responded warmly to a Socialist Equality Party leaflet.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

19 September 2015

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Australian tram drivers strike over jobs and conditions

By Margaret Rees, 14 September 2015

As tram workers hold limited stoppages, the Victorian Premier Labor threatens to do whatever is necessary “to protect the economic interests of the state.”

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12 September 2015

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UGL workers face deepening job cuts in Australia and Asia

By the Socialist Equality Party, 11 September 2015

The layoffs by a major engineering company are part of a wider barrage of job destruction throughout Australia and internationally.

Australia: State Labor government attacks striking train staff

By Margaret Rees, 7 September 2015

For the second time in two weeks, the Victorian government tried to ban industrial action by low-paid rail workers.

Australian 7-Eleven workers under-paid and super-exploited

By Oscar Grenfell, 5 September 2015

Convenience store workers, often vulnerable international students, are forced to work for half-pay.

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5 September 2015

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South Australian government and private corporations axe thousands of jobs

By Terry Cook, 4 September 2015

Unemployment in the state is climbing as major companies and the Labor government restructure and slash costs.

BlueScope Steel workers speak with the WSWS

By our reporters, 3 September 2015

BlueScope Steel workers from the company’s Port Kembla plant, south of Sydney spoke with the World Socialist Web Site reporters at an early morning mass meeting in Wollongong yesterday . The Australian Workers Union (AWU) and other unions have responded to the management’s threat to shut the plant, Australia’s largest steel making plant, by promising to assist the company slash up to 500 jobs as part of $200 million cost-cutting restructure.

Australian steel unions enforce destruction of jobs and conditions

By Richard Phillips, 3 September 2015

The unions have pledged to defend BlueScope Steel’s profits and provide the company with $200 million in cost-cutting measures.

Australian mining giant replaces Blackwater workers with contractors

By Declan O’Malley, 2 September 2015

The mining union is pleading with the company to keep collaborating in cutting costs at the expense of jobs and conditions.

Union collaborates in attacks on New Zealand Steel workers

By Tom Peters, 29 August 2015

BlueScope Steel is threatening to shut down its Glenbrook steel plant in New Zealand and axe over 1,000 jobs.

Australia: Melbourne tram drivers strike over wages and conditions

By our correspondents, 29 August 2015

Despite denunciations by the Victorian state Labor government, metropolitan train drivers have voted for a similar stoppage next Friday.

Australia: Hutchison Ports dispute at the crossroads

By the Socialist Equality Party (Australia), 29 August 2015

Left in the hands of the MUA, the outcome is a foregone conclusion: the further destruction of the jobs and conditions of waterfront workers.

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29 August 2015

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Australia: BlueScope Steel demands mass job cuts under threat of plant closure

By Terry Cook, 26 August 2015

The Australian Workers Union has immediately signalled that it will help impose BlueScope Steel’s job-cutting measures.

New Zealand rail company prepares further job cuts

By our reporter, 22 August 2015

Successive Labour and National-led governments, assisted by the unions, have already devastated the railway system over the past three decades.

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22 August 2015

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Australian transport union calls off Melbourne train and tram strike

By Terry Cook, 20 August 2015

The state Labor government reacted with undisguised hostility to the prospect of the first public transport strike in Melbourne since 1997.

Australian union sells out Woolworths warehouse strikers

By our correspondents, 19 August 2015

After isolating the walkout and telling workers that they could face crippling fines, the NUW pushed through a return-to-work vote.

Sacked Hutchison workers barred entry after Australian union sells out strike

By Richard Phillips, 15 August 2015

The court ruling gave the union precisely what it wanted: to shut down the strike and demobilise workers, while it manoeuvres for a negotiated job-cutting deal.

Australia: Union officials force SEP supporters off Sydney dock picket

By Zac Hambides, 15 August 2015

The unions are trying to silence criticism because they cannot answer the truth—they are carrying out a betrayal of the Hutchison workers.

Melbourne transport workers vote for industrial action

By Terry Cook, 15 August 2015

After almost unanimous votes for industrial action, the union is seeking to cobble together a sellout deal with the state Labor government.

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15 August 2015

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Australian waterfront union betrays Hutchison strike

By Mike Head, 14 August 2015

While claiming a “victory,” as it did in 1998, the MUA is sending the Hutchison Ports workers back to work today, with many to lose their jobs.

Australian warehouse workers defy court order to end strike

By our correspondents, 13 August 2015

The Woolworths workers have become the second group of strikers currently defying return to work orders, following similar votes by Hutchison Port workers Brisbane and Sydney.

Hutchison Ports’ sackings in Australia and the global restructuring of the docks

By Mike Head, 12 August 2015

Hutchison is rolling out remotely-controlled automated terminals around the world, ruthlessly destroying jobs and conditions.

New Zealand Meat Workers Union calls off two-day strike

By John Braddock, 12 August 2015

The unions have been operating from the outset to isolate and wear down workers in the protracted 18-month dispute over AFFCO’s demands for further cuts to working conditions.

Hutchison workers continue strike as Australian union calls for “negotiated” job cuts

By Richard Phillips, 11 August 2015

The MUA has responded to an industrial commission return-to-work directive by denying it has any involvement in the waterfront walkout.

Sacked Hutchison workers speak out

By our reporters, 10 August 2015

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke with sacked Hutchison Port Australia workers at Sydney’s Port Botany terminal over the past two days. Workers described Hutchison’s high-productivity regime and how the company lured workers from various stevedoring companies, as well as airline, manufacturing and logistics businesses, promising them long-term employment.

Hutchison Australia waterfront workers continue strike action

By Richard Phillips, 10 August 2015

No faith can be placed in the union, which has collaborated with waterfront companies for decades in restructuring that has destroyed thousands of jobs.

Australian business demands deeper cuts to wages and conditions

By Mike Head, 7 August 2015

The Productivity Commission report sets out a framework for cutting wages and conditions to the levels already imposed on workers in Europe and America.

Australian job cuts mount

By our reporter, 4 August 2015

Thousands more mining-related workers are expected to lose their jobs during the next 12 months, with the impact spreading across the country.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

25 July 2015

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18 July 2015

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Hypocrisy all round as Australian Labor leader testifies at royal commission

By Mike Head, 10 July 2015

There is nervousness in ruling circles about the potential of the revelations to intensify the popular hostility toward the entire political establishment.

Australian state government to slash hundreds of electricity jobs

By Terry Cook, 10 July 2015

Networks NSW jobs are being eliminated to cut costs and make the sale of its businesses more attractive to potential buyers.

Labor leader pledges support for further privatisations

By Terry Cook, 10 July 2015

New South Wales Labor Opposition leader Luke Foley dedicated a substantial part of his state budget reply speech last month to assure the financial elite that Labor, in or out of office, remained the privatisation party par excellence.

Unemployed forced to “work for the dole” in Australia

By Zac Hambides, 6 July 2015

Thousands of unemployed workers are now being forced to carry out unpaid work in exchange for welfare payments.

Australia Post to axe another 1,900 jobs in preparation for privatisation

By Keith Morgan, 4 July 2015

The claim of mail business losses is a smokescreen to eliminate as many as 10,000 jobs over the next three years.

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4 July 2015

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Australian treasurer denies housing affordability crisis

By Terry Cook, 24 June 2015

Rampant speculation by banks and property developers, encouraged by government tax breaks, has produced an astronomical increase in housing prices.

Australian Labor leader defends “modern” union deals to boost corporate profits

By Mike Head, 23 June 2015

Bill Shorten spelt out the role of the trade unions as industrial police forces over their members.

Australian Labor leader under fire over “sweetheart” deals with employers

By Mike Head, 17 June 2015

The posturing of both the prime minister and opposition leader as defenders of low-paid workers reeks of hypocrisy.

Australian cleaners denied penalty rates by trade union for more than a decade

By our reporters, 17 June 2015

Cleanevent workers speak to the WSWS about their poor pay and conditions, and the role of the Australian Workers Union.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

13 June 2015

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Australian government vilifies human rights commissioner

By Mike Head, 8 June 2015

Commissioner Triggs warned of a “growing threat to democracy” produced by terrorism laws, refugee detention, mandatory sentencing and anti-association legislation.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

6 June 2015

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Australian union boosted membership lists by imposing low wages

By Mike Head, 5 June 2015

The Australian Workers Union agreement saved Cleanevent $6 million over three years, at the expense of low-paid casual cleaners.

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16 May 2015

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2 May 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

25 April 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

18 April 2015

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11 April 2015

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Mass strike by Vietnamese shoe workers

By Ben McGrath, 6 April 2015

As many as 90,000 workers conducted a week-long strike against a government attack on their social insurance benefits.

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4 April 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

28 March 2015

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Australian trade unions spearhead slashing of wage penalty rates

By Mike Head, 26 March 2015

The agreement sends a wider signal: the unions and the Labor Party are ready to enforce an all-out assault on wages and working conditions.

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21 March 2015

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14 March 2015

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7 March 2015

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Australian union rallies seek to divert anger over attacks on wages and services

By our reporters, 5 March 2015

The ACTU staged a “National Day of Action” yesterday to try to head off the intense hostility among workers to the mounting assault on wages, working conditions and social services.

Australian workers denounce budget cuts and austerity drive

By our correspondents, 5 March 2015

Workers from a variety of industries spoke to WSWS correspondents after yesterday’s trade union rallies in Sydney and Melbourne, explaining what issues led them to join the protests and discussing the political questions raised by the speakers’ promotion of the perspective of returning another Labor government.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

28 February 2015

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Australian prime minister’s leadership continues to unravel

By Mike Head, 26 February 2015

Underlying the destabilisation is mounting business dissatisfaction with the Abbott government’s failure to impose deep cuts to social spending and workers’ wages and conditions.

Australia: Aurizon workers confront deep assault on conditions

By Terry Cook, 25 February 2015

Amid plummeting coal prices, the rail freight company is seeking to dismantle long-standing working conditions and protections for its Queensland workforce.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

21 February 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

14 February 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

7 February 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

31 January 2015

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Australian Productivity Commission launches wage-cutting review

By Mike Head, 27 January 2015

The inquiry openly canvasses abolishing penalty wage rates for after-hours work and scrapping the minimum wage.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

17 January 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

10 January 2015

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3 January 2015

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

27 December 2014

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Toyota Australia details restructuring plans after 2017 shutdown

By Will Morrow, 6 December 2014

The trade unions have been the key accomplices of the companies, along with state and federal governments, in organising the shutdown of the auto industry.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

29 November 2014

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Australian meat workers to face new attacks after JBS buys Primo Group

By Richard Phillips, 27 November 2014

JBS’s rapid expansion over the past nine years has been driven by an unrelenting assault on jobs, wages and conditions.

Australian mining services workers reject 25 percent pay cut

By Declan O’Malley and Mike Head, 22 November 2014

Hastings Deering’s ultimatum points to an intensification of the assault against jobs and conditions in the mining industry.

Australia’s housing bubble fuels a social disaster

By Mike Head, 20 November 2014

Working class households are increasingly priced out of buying a home, while thousands of properties lie vacant.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

15 November 2014

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8 November 2014

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Broken Nation: A glimpse of Australian anti-war sentiment in World War I

By Will Morrow, 6 November 2014

It is significant—and to Joan Beaumont’s credit—that her latest book lifts the lid, albeit within definite limits, on anti-war opposition in the working class.

Australia: Wages slashed to boost corporate profits

By Terry Cook, 1 November 2014

The cost-cutting drive is intensifying amid the implosion of the mining boom, with export prices falling sharply and thousands of jobs being destroyed by mine closures.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

1 November 2014

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Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

18 October 2014

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Western Australian government announces further public sector job cuts

By Joe Lopez, 14 October 2014

With the reversal of the mining boom, both the state government and the Labor opposition agree that the working class must pay the price.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

11 October 2014

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Australia: 500 more public sector jobs to go in Tasmania

By Terry Cook, 7 October 2014

The state government withdrew its pay freeze and declared it will axe a further 500 jobs, bringing the total to 1,200 since the August budget.

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4 October 2014

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Job cuts mounting in Australia as mining slump intensifies

By Terry Cook, 26 September 2014

In the past week alone, coal mine closures in central Queensland have directly destroyed another 700 jobs.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

13 September 2014

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Caltex Australia’s restructuring cuts hundreds more jobs

By Terry Cook, 4 September 2014

The oil company’s share price jumped to a record high after slashing 350 further jobs to deliver cost savings of around $100 million a year.

Suicides highlight harsh conditions in Australia’s mining industry

By Joe Lopez, 2 September 2014

Nine Pilbara “Fly In Fly Out” workers have committed suicide in the past 12 months, despite an earlier federal parliamentary inquiry.

Workers Struggles: Asia, Australia and the Pacific

30 August 2014

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23 August 2014

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Australia: Sydney university staff and students oppose job cuts

By Zac Hambides, 14 August 2014

Sydney university students and staff are being diverted into another round of bankrupt appeals to the campus administration and the Labor opposition to stop job cuts.