Laura Woodward, Author at United Workers Union
March 31, 2021

STATEMENT ON QUEENSLAND LOCKDOWN: Call for workplaces to use Government app

Attribute to United Workers Union Queensland State Secretary Gary Bullock: “Queensland workers are in a crucial recovery period and ensuring all workplaces use the same contact tracing system is key. “As we have just experienced, snap lockdowns are still occurring, and workplaces are still needing to close with little to no notice to keep the community safe from further outbreak. “The end of the JobKeeper subsidy is devastating for sectors like hospitality, particularly in regions of the country such as Far North Queensland where the local economy relies heavily on international tourism. Many sectors are still dealing with the flow-on effect of the crisis. “Workers have not regained normality yet, but as we continue to operate under the shadow of the COVID crisis decisions can be made to ease the burden. “We want all establishments requiring patrons to sign in to operate using the Queensland Government app. “The Check In Qld app […]
March 11, 2021


MEDIA ALERT WHEN: 8 am Thursday 11 March 2021 WHERE: Outside Victoria’s Parliament House WHAT: The Senate Economics Committee hearing on the Unlawful underpayment of employee remuneration inquiry. Workers and Victorian leaders speak out on the IR Omnibus Bill wage theft component that will undermine and weaken wage theft laws in Victoria, as well as Queensland. WHO: United Workers Union members Jules Gibson, Mohammed Abdillahi and Trent Whitehand-Willick will be sharing their stories of wage theft and how the IR Omnibus Bill threatens to strip away state protections. They will be joined by ACTU President Michele O’Neil, VTHC Assistant Secretary Carina Garland and Victorian Senator Jess Walsh. Attributable to Jules Gibson, Hospo Voice member, the hospitality arm of the United Workers Union:  “I’ve worked 16 years in the hospitality industry. I went to one of the best restaurants in town owned by an illustrious “celebrity chef” – there I was taught the industry standard; […]
March 1, 2021


Today’s Aged Care Royal Commission’s recommendations threaten to leave older Australians without the quality care they desperately need, United Workers Union said today. “Reforms that address the neglect of older Australians are welcomed,” Carolyn Smith, United Workers Union aged care director, said today. “However an incremental approach to increasing care time – lifting care time from current levels by a miserly 20 minutes – means older Australians will still miss out on the quality care needed. “The lack of a clear recommendation on how the reforms should be financed also means older Australians will be hostage to political solutions rather than good policy. “Without clarity around funding sources and a bold increase in care time, older Australians will be left without the care and safety they require. “On another front, the recommendation to clear the Home Care waiting list will present the Federal Government a massive logistical challenge – even […]
February 17, 2021

Submission to Senate Standing Committees on Education and Employment: Inquiry into Fair Work Amendment (Supporting Australia’s Jobs and Economic Recovery) Bill 2020

United Workers Union has asked the Senate Committee to reject this legislation which is an attack on workers’ pay and conditions at a time where we need to be rebuilding our economy. This won’t be possible if employers have the ability to entrench insecure work and slash take home pay. If passed the IR Omnibus Bill will leave workers worse off and will have a significant negative effect on those workers whom we relied on to deliver us through the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation will: Make insecure workers even less secure Will allow employers to rush through enterprise agreements that undercut the safety net with less scrutiny Will lock some workers out of enterprise bargaining for unacceptably long periods Will replace more effective criminal sanctions against wage theft with less effective ones. Summary of United Workers Union recommendations: Having regard to the dire impact the proposed legislation will have on millions […]
February 15, 2021

In their own words…

Angela  I am a cleaner and I work for a large contractor. I have been working for the same employer for over six years. I love my job, but things have been hard.  I must know the terms of my agreement well because my employer seems to forget their obligations under our Enterprise Agreement.  I have been underpaid, denied overtime rates and it’s been left up to me to have to chase things up. It is not easy to raise these issues and I worried about losing my job every time that I had to ask for what is my minimum entitlements.  Recently the Queensland government made wage theft a crime and this bill would greatly reduce those protections. Under this bill my employer could steal from me and I would have to prove their intent.  Even with a conviction the penalty would be reduced from 10 years in prison […]
February 2, 2021

Federal Government needs to step up on vaccine manufacturing at Pfizer facility in Perth

Pfizer has previously announced its decision to exit its Perth manufacturing facility in 2023. The United Workers Union is calling on the federal government to work with Pfizer and the state government to turn the facility into a world-class vaccine manufacturing facility. “These workers are skilled workers with lots of experience making cancer drugs and injectable products for our health care system. With Pfizer shifting this production to Melbourne and overseas, we have a unique moment to significantly upscale our nation’s industrial capacity to turn around hundreds of millions more vaccine doses,” said United Workers Union Executive Director Godfrey Moase. “While the McGowan Labor government has made a good start at exploring future options for the site, in the middle of a pandemic the feds have gone missing,” said Mr Moase. “The feds really need to step up and take responsibility here. We need vaccine manufacturing capacity on the west coast […]
December 22, 2020

Union calls on Coles to get warehouse working again in face of Sydney COVID crisis

The United Workers Union (UWU) has today called on Coles to urgently get the Smeaton Grange warehouse operational in the face of a growing COVID-19 outbreak threatening Sydney. Workers are ready to get back to work to provide Sydney with the supplies it will need, but have been locked out by the company since November when negotiations for improved redundancy for workers facing automation broke down. “These workers were there in the pandemic last time and can be there again. Coles can get this crucial warehouse operating again very easily, all they need to do is negotiate fairly with workers,” said UWU Logistics Director Matt Toner. “Workers outstanding claims are simple, improved job security in the form of a casual to permanent ratio, the right to transfer to the new Coles automated warehouse and improved redundancy that acknowledges workers jobs are being automated.” Coles has set up a system of […]
December 17, 2020


MEDIA ALERT: NATIONAL DAY OF PROTEST ACTION AGAINST COLES  Today, hundreds of workers and supporters will launch coordinated protests across Australia calling on Coles to negotiate a just transition for workers and their families ahead of Coles’ automation programme.  Rather than negotiating with workers, Coles decided to lock out 350 workers for three-months over the Christmas period.  “Today’s actions will be heard loud and clear across Australia as these Coles workers stand up for their rights and the rights of all workers facing automation in the future,” said UWU National Secretary Tim Kennedy who will be speaking at the Melbourne press conference this morning.  “Coles is one of the biggest private sector employers in this country. They cannot walk away from workers whose jobs they want to abandon without negotiating a proper automation settlement.  “These workers built Coles’ empire, gave them the capital to invest billions into automation. Now, these […]
December 15, 2020


MEDIA ALERT WHEN: TODAY 9 AM Tuesday 15 December 2020 WHERE: Hanes Warehouse – 31-39 Permas Way, Truganina WHAT: Hundreds of workers at the Melbourne Hanes warehouse, who distribute Bonds, Champion and Sheridan sheets, have gone on strike this week in their fight against extreme casualisation in the outer western suburb of Melbourne, Truganina. Permanent full-time workers are making a stand alongside their casual workmates as they fight for their right to a decent job and life. WHO: United Workers Union National Secretary Tim Kennedy will give an address and be available for comment on site. Striking warehouse workers will provide good visuals, rally cries, and be available for comment. Following Hanes’ refusal to meet workers for further negotiations since a company offer that included cuts and changes to workers’ conditions was voted down last week, permanent workers walked off the job in an act of solidarity with their fellow casual workers. The warehouse is […]