Two teams of Vintage Reds took part in the Union Aid Abroad Apheda Trivia Night at the Belconnen Labour Club on 12 June.
The event was fiercely competitive (but you can make financial donations to improve your score… ) and unfortunately our brainy table was easily trounced by other brainier tables.
The event raised money for the Karen community. (These are members of a minority group from Myanmar.) We heard from two very good Karen speakers, including one from Harmony Cleaners, a community cooperative business set up as a pilot program with help from United Voice. Many cleaners have experienced exploitation by employers, but Harmony cleaners are paid at the proper rate, work under proper conditions, and set a fine model for any enterprise. An additional bonus is that the company is not-for-profit so invests any extra funds into the Karen community.
Vintage Reds worked tirelessly in the electorate of Gilmore, beating the pavements in Tuross, Moruya and Bateman’s Bay to bring the union movement’s concerns to voters in the federal election.
We campaigned on themes of fairness and equality, and opposing casualisation, penalty rate cuts, wage-theft and stagnant wage growth.
“Honk for penalty rates” was a particular favourite with motorists, one of whom (not personally known to us) drove on to a local coffee shop and brought back two coffees for our volunteers!
The election results were a shock; but congratulations to Fiona Phillips, the new ALP member for Gilmore.
Election day saw Sally McManus, secretary of the ACTU, in the electorate of Gilmore, providing her with a chance to have her photo taken with the Vintage Reds and south coast activist friends.
Quite a lot of our members put long hours in, hoping for a result against the government in the election. We failed; but not in Gilmore.
Students wagged school and gathered in Garema Place on Friday 15 March 2019 as part of the Global Climate Strike. They called for 100% renewable energy by 2030.
“We’ll stop acting like adults if you stop acting like children!” they said. Organisers estimated that 3500 people attended the rally, including 2000 school students. Some parents and grandparents, including a sprinkling of Vintage Reds, also came and were vastly impressed by the students’ organisation and mature activism.
UnionsACT secretary, Alex White, says: “Unions in Canberra support the student climate strike and congratulate them for taking action to send the message that climate change is the greatest threat to future generations. Tackling climate change & ensuring a Just Transition* is core union business. There are no jobs on a dead planet.”
* The ALP will establish a Just Transition Authority if elected, to develop regional transition plans & oversee redundancy schemes. Unions, industry & local communities will have direct input.
“Refugees are Union Business”.
Unionists for Refugees are a sub-group of Canberra’s Refugee Action Committee, acting on the principles of “solidarity across borders”, social justice and our common humanity. Vintage Reds joined a recent planning meeting for the Palm Sunday rally.
Popular feeling about refugees is starting to break free from the effects of cynical political fearmongering, especially because of concerns for the hundreds of men, women and children kept in Australian detention camps offshore, with no hope for a future.
Let’s make 2019 a big year for change. Enough is enough. All refugees off Manus and Nauru.
It was cold and overcast in Canberra this morning when the Vintage Reds joined with United Voice and other unions to support the cleaners in Australian Government office buildings who are going to suffer a 20% cut in their wages (from $24.00 to $20 an hour). Many are likely to loose their jobs because of this change of contractors and work arrangements. Just another example of why Australia needs to “Change the Rules” and rid us of our rancid conservative government!