Stuart Washington, Author at United Workers Union
March 15, 2021

Aged care nurses and carers converge on Parliament House

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WHAT: Aged care nurses and carers media conference. When: 10.30am, Tuesday 16 March, 2021. Where: Senate Courtyard, Parliament House, Canberra.   A DELEGATION of aged care workers from across Australia will converge on Parliament House, Canberra, today (Tuesday 16 March) calling on the country’s political decision-makers to use the upcoming Federal Budget to urgently reform the understaffed and under-resourced aged care sector. The 25-strong delegation from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) and the United Workers Union (UWU) includes registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers concerned that elderly Australians living in nursing homes need action from Government now on critical reforms to get the safe, quality care they need and deserve. The Final Report of the Aged Care Royal Commission recognised that far too many have suffered because of the long standing systemic failings of the aged care sector and identified unacceptably low levels […]
March 7, 2021


Aged care workers have rejected central recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission, saying they do not go far enough or quickly enough to provide the care and safety older Australians need. In a snap survey conducted by United Workers Union on Tuesday and Wednesday, 84 per cent of aged care workers said they did not think the recommendations do enough to improve the quality of care for older Australians. And 84 per cent of aged care workers said they were not confident the Morrison Government would act to significantly improve the quality of care for older Australians. The poll of more than 600 aged care workers also found: – 86 per cent of aged care workers rejected the proposed increase of 20 minutes of care time as too low. – 78 per cent of aged care workers do not think they will get a pay rise as a result […]
February 24, 2021


Almost 3000 aged care workers are demanding a fundamental shake-up of aged care ahead of this week’s hand over of the Aged Care Royal Commission final report. In a survey, aged care workers called for a “big picture” overhaul as they identified serious issues affecting the care and safety of older Australians in aged care facilities including: Four in five aged care workers say older Australians are not getting the quality care they deserve in their facility because of under-staffing. Heavy workloads affecting care and safety, with 51 per cent of workers saying older Australians faced an unfilled shift every day.* Insecure working conditions affecting care and safety, with 61 per cent of aged care workers saying they want more hours, and 20 per cent saying they need to work two jobs to make ends meet. The results from the United Workers Union survey conducted late last year show a […]
February 10, 2021

Altona ExxonMobil Oil Refinery set to close, putting 350 jobs at risk

ExxonMobil is set to close its Altona oil refinery plant which has been operational for 70 years, putting 350 jobs at risk. Is it disappointing that news of the closure broke late Tuesday evening via an anonymous tip to the media, before the company held discussions with workers affected by the closure.    Australia has witnessed several significant closures in advanced manufacturing over the past twelve months across construction, pharmaceuticals and energy. This comes at a time when global supply chains have been put under pressure by the Covid-19 pandemic, signalling a strong need for Australia to strengthen its domestic advanced manufacturing capabilities. However in the absence of a clear plan for the future of energy supply and manufacturing in Australia, many multinational corporations are pulling out of Australia.    Australian ExxonMobil workers are rated #1 in the world by their own employer. That means Australia has been exporting high […]
January 21, 2021

Peters Ice Cream workers battle $9-an-hour pay cut

Workers at Peters Ice Cream production facility in South East Melbourne are set to take industrial action in their fight to stop the slashing of wages for casual workers. The initial protected action will commence Friday January 22 at 12.01 am in the form of an indefinite ban on overtime. Peters, whose well known brands include Drumstick, Maxibon and Frosty Fruit, have failed to listen to workers concerns around casualisation and low pay since negotiations began in March last year. Workers have already rejected the company’s offer that would cut the hourly wage of casual employees by more than $9 per hour. Peters maintains a highly casualised workforce – more than 30 per cent of workers are in insecure casual work, many being at the company for years without an offer of a secure permanent job. As essential workers, both casual and permanent employees have been required to put health […]
December 16, 2020


Coles’ lock out of workers at a major south-western Sydney distribution centre was labelled “a disgrace” by Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese today in a visit to the site. In November Coles locked out 350 workers and closed the Smeaton Grange shed for three months after the workers took industrial action in their claim for a fair redundancy. “(The fact that) workers will continue to be locked out over Christmas and up to February is quite frankly a disgrace,” Mr Albanese. (Link to footage HERE). “I have indicated that very clearly on behalf of the Australian Labor Party to Coles management. “It is completely unacceptable that they are not prepared to negotiate in good faith to resolve these issues and get these outstanding Australian men and women back to work.” Mr Albanese said workers needed to be looked after as they face automation of their jobs. “We all know about technological […]
December 15, 2020


In a vote this morning 350 Coles workers in south-western Sydney locked out by Coles for three months endorsed the company’s 3.5 per cent wage offer. But the vote does not signal the end of the bitter dispute. In the vote today workers called on Coles to negotiate with them about the issues they have always seen as more important than a pay rise: a fair redundancy and addressing the company’s ability to arbitrarily fire workers. The endorsement directly addresses and rejects Coles’ persistent attempts to portray the dispute with Coles Smeaton Grange workers as being about a pay increase. Coles has locked out the workers for three months, leaving them without pay over Christmas. Ahead of the successful vote Coles worker Ian told a meeting at the Smeaton Grange site held this morning: “To show good faith to Coles and to show everyone else in Australia this dispute is […]
December 12, 2020


WHEN: 2pm Saturday, 12 December, 2020. WHERE: Belmore Park opposite Central Station, Haymarket, Sydney WHAT: 350 Coles workers who have been locked out from the Smeaton Grange distribution centre are calling on Coles to treat them fairly as they face redundancies when the shed closes in a couple of years. WHO: United Workers Union president Jo Schofield and Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey will be among those addressing the rally. NOTE: Everyone attending this event will be expected to adhere to current social distancing guidelines. Coles workers have put their lives and their livelihoods on the line in the struggle for a better deal for them and their families after a lock out by Coles, United Workers Union logistics director Matt Toner said today. “Coles’ cruel lockout has left these workers without pay for 23 days ahead of Christmas and exposed these workers to incredible hardships. “Coles is wrong to […]
December 1, 2020


WHEN: 7am Tuesday, 1 December, 2020. Press conference at 7.45am. All times local time. WHERE: Brisbane Airport – Kingsford Smith Memorial WHAT: Over 100 cars will create a motorcade at and around Brisbane Airport from 7 am – 7:30 am calling on ISS Facility Services to adopt a fair, transparent process in their plans to cut more than 30 per cent of airport security officers Australia-wide. This will be followed by a press conference at 7:45 am at Kingsford Smith Memorial. WHO: Security Officer Angie Brandham and United Workers Union Spokesperson for Property Services, Damien Davie and will be available for comment. NOTE: Everyone attending this event will be expected to adhere to current social distancing guidelines. As Brisbane Airport bounces back today (EDS: Tuesday) with increased flights and interstate border restrictions largely removed, hundreds of airport security officers facing the sack nationally will be calling for fair treatment. After […]