aawl mini-news

Asbestos Diseases of Victoria Commemoration Ceremony

Please join us at the Asbestos Diseases of Victoria (ADSVIC) annual Commemoration Ceremony held at the end of Asbestos Awareness Week. The Commemoration Ceremony will start at 11 am on Friday 27 November 2009 at the BMW Edge Theatre, Federation Square.

We are urging union members and OHS reps in particular to attend in numbers as a show of solidarity for ADSVIC and to share the occasion with the families and friends of workers that have died from an asbestos related disease.

Creating public awareness is critical to successfully pressuring the Brumby government to act on asbestos. Strong worker attendance at the event will encourage the media to continue reporting about asbestos and will increase the awareness of the dangers of asbestos among the general public.

This year the Governor of Victoria David de Kretser AC will present the keynote address. Martin Kingham will also speak followed by a number of small presentations by families personally affected by asbestos disease.  There will be a BBQ after the ceremony on the banks of the Yarra.

Friday 27 November

Rose Garden in Morwell, 11.00am. The ceremony will be followed by free BBQ lunch with the compliments of Gippsland Trades & Labour Council - all most welcome to attend. For further information contact Vicki Hamilton 0407274173 or the GARDS - Gippsland Asbestos Related Diseases Support Group office: 5127 7744

Garment workers - global struggle


On 31 October several hundred workers turned up at the gates of the Nippon Garment Factory in Tongi, an industrial city 24 km north of Dhaka, expecting to work and to receive wages owed. Instead they found police blocking the entrance - and a note on the gate informing them that the factory was shut until November 29 because of "global recession". The notice also asked workers to collect their wages on November 10, though arrears were already 3 months late.

The mainly female workers tried to force their way into the factory but they were attacked with baton charges by the police. More workers and locals from the surrounding slum areas joined the protest and the crowd grew to several thousands and moved to block the main highway. Hundreds of police and para-military forces intervened. Police began shooting teargas and live rounds at the workers who erected barricades. Two workers were killed, and a thousand people are reported injured.

When they get paid, Bangladeshi workers on the minimum wage receive US$0.15 per hour. Following the clashes in Tongi the Bangladesh governemnt is considering supporting the establishment of unions in the the garment industry. Read more on the Tongi struggle


Workers members of the Triumph Labour Union have occupied the Ministry of Labour in Bangkok, and set up their living quarter and garment production facilities inside the ministry buildings.

Almost 2000 union members were sacked by Triumph in June, and have been picketing the factory in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan since then. The factory owners dismissed the workers claiming a fall in profits, and they set up a new factory with casual workers.

The workers are producing garments under their own label, and continue their fight for reinstatement & compensation. Read more on the Triumph struggle at Committee for Asian Women

Sri Lanka

The Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union in Sri Lanka has demanded that employers ensure decent work by paying a living wage, Free Trade Zone workers earning the minimum wage live in poverty, often barely able to afford one meal a day.

As part of its on-going campaign for a living wage, on October 7 the ITGLWF affiliate organised a demonstration in front of the main gate of the Katunayake FTZ. The workers maintained the action for an hour in spite of attempts by police to break up the picket.

The union is campaigning to increase wages during the 2009 salary review which is now underway. The union’s approach is in organising at factory level as a key way of securing a living wage. The FTZGSEU is supported in its campaign by the ITGLWF, which selected the living wage issue as the theme for its World Day for Decent Work activities. Read more on the Sri Lanka wage campaign at ITGLWF

Global Economic Crisis Forum

Global Economic Crisis Forum: Perspectives, Impacts & Implications

Saturday 7 November, 12.00pm-4.30pm, Federation of Education Unions, Conference Centre, Ground Floor, 120 Clarendon St, Southbank.

We hope you can join us for the 2nd Melbourne Left Renewal Roundtable as we look at the impacts, character and political implications of the greatest global economic crisis since the Great Depression. Speakers include Kenneth Davidson, John Hinkson (Arena), Julius Roe (AMWU), Rob Durbridge (AEU), Cath Smith (VCOSS). Cost: $10 / $5. snacks / afternoon tea provided. More info: SEARCH Foundation

ASU Day of Action

We Demand Action on Equal Pay!

All ASU members are called to participate in a Day of Action on November 10, assembling at Parliament Gardens at 11am, to protest against the complete failure of the Brumby Government to increase our wages and to demand equal pay with Queensland SACS workers and public sector workers doing the same work. Click here for more information.

Click here for the flyer of the ASU SACS rally on November 10.

Sri Lanka Forum

Sri Lanka: Human Rights Issues and Media Representation

Tuesday 10 November, from 6 - 8 pm.

Monash University Caulfield Campus
900 Dandenong Road
Caulfield East

Presented by the Victorian Trades Hall Council, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Law Resource Centre, the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, the Herb Feith Foundation (Monash University) and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (Sydney University).

The recent turn back of the boat of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers is a poignant indication of how bad the situation in Sri Lanka is, particularly (but not only) for Tamils, and it is hoped that this forum will generate more interest and understanding of the situation there.

Workers in the Pacific

Trade, labour mobility and development in the Pacific

Public meeting
Monday 16 November at 6 pm

Meeting room 1, Ground floor, Trades Hall, Lygon Street, Carlton.

The Australian government has been pushing for greater regional economic integration in the Pacific islands, and promoting a regional trade agreement known as PACER-Plus. But what will free trade and increased overseas investment mean for workers and local communities in the Pacific? What are the costs and benefits of increased labour mobility in the Pacific and seasonal work schemes which provide access for Pacific workers to the Australian and New Zealand labour markets?

Speakers include:
Maureen Penjueli (Fiji) - Coordinator, Pacific Network on Globalisation (PANG)
John Salong (Vanuatu) - Director, Vanuatu Women’s Development Scheme (VANWODS)

Hacienda Luisita Commemoration

The massacre of striking workers at Hacienda Luisita demonstrates once again that the path to a better future means a life and death struggle for the toiling masses, as those who lord over society will never willingly surrender their wealth and power. 

Join us in commemorating the courage of the Hacienda Luisita mill & farm workers and supporters, and oppose the violation of workers’ rights.


Monday, November 16
6:30 pm,  Victorian Trades Hall
Cnr Lygon and Victoria Streets, Carlton

Speaker - Rene Galang, President of United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU - one of the workers’ unions in Hacienda Luisita, Philippines)

Film Showing - “Sa Ngalan Ng Tubo” (In the Name of Sugar Cane) A documentary film on  the struggle and the massacre of the workers and supporters at Hacienda Luisita, Central Luzon, Philippines.

For further information:
George Kotsakis  - 1300 366 674
Reyvi Marinas - 0421 119776
AAWL -  9663 7277

Organised by:  Migrante Melbourne

Endorsed and Supported by: Australia Asia Workers Links (AAWL), Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA) and Gabriela Australia

International Trade Union Youth Conference

International Trade Union Youth Conference
Lima, Peru
18-20 November 2009

The organizing committee, the General Confederation of Workers of Peru (CGTP) and the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) call upon all affiliated and frieldy organizations to participate in this 1st International Trade Union Youth Conference. 

 Click here for more information

Human Rights Protest Dinner

Saturday 21st November at 7:30 pm
at  Maya, 11 Rossmoyne Street, Thornbury
(Melbourne Melway Map 30 G4  -  Tram 86)

The objective of the Dinner is to raise the plight of individuals / communities who are fighting for Human Rights issues & struggles in Australia and other countries. We aim to air / profile  various HR plights so that people are not alone, and that others hear of their plight and tell others and come to action to assist them in various ways. We also aim to meet socially aware people and fellow activists in the field. Information tables will be available.

For bookings and tickets ($22) contact Sharon (Black Rights Action Group - BRAG) on 0401 414 967

Support Ark Tribe - Abolish the ABCC

Across Australia, rallies and protests occurred in support of Ark Tribe, the South Australian building worker who had to attend court again in Adelaide on Friday 30 October.

The AUSTRALIAN BUILDING CONSTRUCTION COMMISSION (ABCC), created by the Howard Liberal government and maintained by the Rudd / Gillard Labor government, is taking Ark to court for refusing to participate in an interrogation by the building industry’s industrial police force.

CFMEU member Ark Tribe faces 6 months jail for refusing to provide information against other workers to the ABCC when he was questioned about a safety meeting that occurred in 2008.

In Adelaide building workers surrounded the Adelaide Magistrates Court in a show of support for Ark. CFMEU South Australia secretary Martin O'Malley told the rally that "the ABCC is seeking to penalise workers who've committed no crimes, while companies continue to get away with appalling rates of workplace death and injury due to shortcuts on safety. The sickening irony is that workers are regularly killed and injured by company negligence, but it's workers who face jail if they stop work after a fatality."

In Sydney workers marched through the Central Business District to the ABCC's offices in Castlereagh Street.

In Melbourne, the Victorian Building Industry unions conducted a rally outside the ABCC Headquarters at 553 St Kilda Road.

All rallies and unions reaffirmed the promise of national industrial action if Ark is jailed. Ark is currently on bail and his next court appearance has been postponed to December.

Send your solidarity message to Ark and the CFMEU

Read more at the CFMEU South Australia site

Read more at the Victorian Trades Hall site

Read more at Rights on Site

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