Friday, October 28, 2016

Sharon Burrow – Samsung attack on unions

The founder of Samsung once reportedly declared the company would "recognise trade unions over my dead body!" Now, leaked internal documents at Samsung reveal the extreme lengths the company will go to exert total control over workers’ lives – especially those who want to form a union.

The PowerPoint presentation – intended for the eyes of corporate bosses only – decrees specific "countermeasures" to be used to "dominate employees". And the language is shocking. The leaked material instructs managers to "isolate employees," "punish leaders," and "induce internal conflicts".

With a precariously-employed workforce, inhumane conditions are rife. According to China Labor Watch, employees at Samsung factories, some under-aged, suffer through 100 hours of forced overtime per month, unpaid work, standing for 11 to 12 hours, verbal and physical abuse, severe age and gender discrimination, lack of worker safety.... 

During a three-month period while the Samsung Galaxy tablet was being rushed out, one worker testified that she “slept about two or three hours a night”, and had to stop breastfeeding her three-month-old infant to keep up with schedule.

Samsung has a reputation for modern technology, but also a history of medieval conditions for the estimated 1,500,000 workers entrenched in a vast and shadowy web of subcontractors and subsidiaries that runs deep throughout the region. 

What's more, the Asia Resource Monitor Centre reports that Samsung's "no-union" policy affects the entire Asian electronics industry, "because Samsung Electronics intervenes actively to prevent the formation of unions at its suppliers".

Samsung is everywhere. If you have a smartphone – an Android or iPhone – there's a good chance that parts in your phone are produced on factory floors controlled by Samsung and its affiliated companies. Now it's up to all of us to tell Samsung enough is enough.

Thank you for all you do,
Sharan Burrow

Thursday, October 27, 2016

AMIEU – Thomas Foods Forced to Back Down After Calling Police on Union

Thomas Foods in Murray Bridge, South Australia have been forced into a humiliating backdown after calling the police on the AMIEU, only for the police to tell them the union had every right to be there.

The Murray Bridge site has two separate lunchrooms, both of which are regularly serviced by visiting AMIEU officials.

Last week however, Thomas Foods management decided, suddenly and with no explanation, that one of the two lunchrooms was off limits to to the AMIEU.

Needless to say, union officers ignored this unlawful order and moved into the lunchroom as normal.

A flustered Thomas Foods management then called the police to have these troublesome union officers ejected — only to be disappointed when the police pointed out the union was obeying the law and was entitled to speak to workers.

No price too high to pay to get rid of unions

This sort of behaviour isn’t new from employers, and it’s not even the first time Thomas Foods in Murray Bridge have tried it. Thomas Foods believes in the American model of food processing, where unions are the enemy, workers should be paid the minimum wage, and lunch breaks are a distant memory.

The story doesn’t end there: the AMIEU is now investigating whether or not Thomas Foods violated WHS requirements by bringing police onto the site without face covers, breathing masks or Q-fever vaccinations.

In their rush to have the union kicked out, it’s very likely that Thomas Foods exposed the police to unnecessary risk and the possibility of infection. Here’s a story about how one of our members almost lost her son to a sudden Q-fever attack – even though tests showed that he was vaccinated.

Q-fever is extremely serious, and can even be fatal. We would hope that Thomas Foods would think twice about exposing the police to something so deadly without proper protection, rather than just throwing safety concerns out the window when the nasty union shows up at the door.

Your rights are under attack

We will keep fighting every day for your right to a safe workplace and strong wages and conditions. But if the Liberals and their mates in big business “productivity commissions” have their way, you won’t be able to talk to your union for much longer.

The Turnbull Government has already announced that they are looking to make changes to further attack workers just like you, including cracking down on when unions are allowed on site to speak to members.

This will mean that if you are being bullied or harassed, or if you’re working in a dangerous or unsafe environment, you won’t be able to talk to anybody about it.

Working people need to stand together now more than ever. Stand up for yourself and for others like you by joining the union online now.

ACTU – Minister Cash fumbles IR Reform, appointments, legislative agenda.

Minister Cash fumbles IR Reform, appointments, legislative agenda.
26 October 2016

In the last 24 hours stories have emerged detailing the Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash’s mishandling of flagship legislation, senior government appointments and debate of reforms that could help millions of Australians.

We have learnt that the minister has:

Quotes Attributable to ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver:

“Minister Cash has shown remarkable incompetence in her handling of one of the two bills that triggered the recent election, and somehow managed to create a situation in which all unions, and many employer groups, will be in breach of the law and facing fines of between $90,000 and one million dollars for failing to report to a body that simply didn’t exist.”

“Shockingly, even bodies that have been disclosing more information than they will be required to under the new regulations could be facing huge fines, again because they did not disclose to a body that did not exist.”

“Given the scale of this mistake it is hard to believe that the minister has managed to do further damage to the reputation of her office by ignoring a huge range of incredibly important IR matters before her and her state counterparts by refusing to meet with them this year.”

“The provision of Domestic and Family Violence Leave at the federal level would be one of the most significant Industrial Relations reforms in recent history, several states are actively pushing for it and it is simply remarkable that the minister does not think this issue is worth her time.”

ACTU – Family Comes First

Even though we know that the best thing for babies is to have their parents at home with them during the early days, the Turnbull Government is once again pushing ahead with plans to cut the amount of paid time at home for new parents.  Tell Malcolm Turnbull that family comes first.

Making sure every new family can give a child a good start in life is something employers and the government need to provide, together.

Current parental leave arrangements enhance child and maternal wellbeing and support parents until they are ready to go back to work. It underpins whatever employees obtain by negotiation with employers.

Government funded paid parental leave was introduced as a universal program – to be available to all families in Australia. It must stay that way.

Let’s all send a strong message to Malcolm Turnbull by signing the petition. Once you’ve signed it, please spread the word in your networks and share the petition with family and friends.

In unity,

Ged Kearney
ACTU President 

Performance Live – KateTempest