Media Releases Archives - United Workers Union
May 11, 2021


The Morrison Government’s attempt to show a commitment to women in this Budget ultimately does not reach the women it’s supposed to benefit, the United Workers Union said today. “If the Coalition was looking to solve its ‘women problem’, this Budget is not the fix,” Jo-anne Schofield, the National President of United Workers Union said today. “When you look closely at this Budget, at home care, at residential aged care, in disability services and at early childhood education and care (ECEC), it is scanty on detail and depressingly low on impact where it really counts. “UWU members who work in home care, residential aged care and ECEC wanted to see in this Budget long-term structural fixes to address low pay and insecure work for overwhelmingly female workforces that have been ignored for far too long. “It leaves the firm impression of a Budget built largely by men trying to find […]
May 7, 2021


The Australia Institute’s Centre for Future Work report on aged care funding reveals once again the terrible human cost paid for years of neglect, Carolyn Smith, Aged Care Director of United Workers Union, said today. “The report’s finding that $10 billion in aged care funding each year is necessary to meet Royal Commission recommendations is an appalling indictment on the treatment of older Australians,” Ms Smith said. “It is the same figure the Royal Commission reached when it found Federal Government funding in 2018-19 was $9.8 billion lower annually than it should be if aged care had not suffered cutback after cutback. “This report explains why aged care workers are left in tears after their shifts. “The $10 billion annual funding shortfall is leading to horrendous human costs in aged care, with older Australians left unsafe and vulnerable, and workers left physically and emotionally exhausted. “The report once again underlines […]
May 7, 2021

“NT – the worst Ambulance service in Australia”- St John staff survey condemns

MEDIA ALERT WHEN: TODAY 2 pm Friday 7 May 2021 WHERE: United Workers Union office – 38 Woods Street, Darwin (Level 2) WHAT: St John Ambulance paramedics, emergency medical dispatchers and patient transport officers expose a toxic workplace, disregard for staff welfare and lack of training in United Workers Union member survey. 2021 survey results highlight significant concerns of ambulance workers which have been ignored by the private contractor St John Ambulance NT and Government. WHO: St John Ambulance Paramedics and United Workers Union spokesperson Erina Early will address the media on the survey results and the need for the service to be brought back into public hands. Quotes attributable to United Workers Union Northern Territory Secretary Erina Early: “The outcomes of this survey should send a chill down every Territorian and reinforces the fact that no emergency services should be privatised. It’s time to listen to the strong voices of our NT […]
May 3, 2021


The United Workers Union (UWU) welcomes additional Federal money for early education but the Federal Government’s recent announcement offers no solution to a growing crisis in the sector. “The Federal Government’s announcement of $1.7billion to fund early childhood education is a band-aid on a sector in crisis,” said UWU ECEC Director Helen Gibbons. “The announcement provides some financial relief to some families, but provides no funding linked to improving the quality of the sector or educator wages. “The early education sector is facing a workforce crisis, without enough qualified educators to meet current demand due to high turnover. The Federal Government’s announcement will only increase that demand, without providing any support for educators to stay in the sector. “The system is broken, and this half-hearted attempt by the Federal Government is not good enough and speaks more to a short term political fix than a vision of delivering a world […]
May 3, 2021

Hazmat suit workers expose exploitation in Queensland’s private COVID clinics 

MEDIA ALERT WHEN: TODAY 9:30 am Monday 3 May 2021 WHERE: Corner of Turbot and Wharf Street, Spring Hill at Brisbane’s Labour Day March. WHAT: Frontline pathology workers expose the exploitation driving unsafe practices and unfair wages in Queensland’s private COVID clinics to a crowd of thousands on Labour Day. WHO: Both private pathology companies have policies forbidding workers from speaking to the media under threat of retribution which is why workers are wearing hazmat suits to protect their identity. United Workers Union spokesperson Isaac Avery will be available for comment on their behalf. VISUALS: Workers in hazmat suits standing in front of a crowd of thousands at the start of the Labour Day March. Workers will also be on stage at the Brisbane Showgrounds at 12:40 pm in RNA marquee 1. Throughout the pandemic workers at QML Pathology (QML) and Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology (SNP) raised a litany of poor practices at the private […]
May 1, 2021

Health workers’ fight against sell-off continues

Industrial action by essential health workers fighting against privatisation of vital health services will continue after a failed bid by the Marshall Liberal Government to block the workers. “The Marshall Liberal Government has monumentally failed in its application to stop all industrial action – out of 172 work bans, 148 are continuing,” South Australian public sector director Demi Pnevmatikos said. “Our South Australian health heroes are able to continue their fight against privatisation at all eight facilities.” In an interim order the South Australian Employment Tribunal imposed minor alterations to work bans at six of the eight hospitals and medical centres where work bans are taking place. Despite Treasurer Rob Lucas’s alarmist rhetoric, work bans covering cleaning, catering and other areas of hospital services are all still continuing. “Essential health workers will continue raising their concerns about privatisation of vital health services, which the Marshall Liberal Government is refusing to […]
April 22, 2021

SA Health Heroes shocked by privatisation revelations

SA Treasurer Rob Lucas’s refusal yesterday to rule out further privatisation of health services and job cuts in hospitals has shocked workers who help care for South Australia’s ill, elderly and most vulnerable. Mr Lucas’s admission he was open to privatising vital public health services and inevitable job cuts was a betrayal of the South Australian community, United Workers Union public sector director Demi Pnevmatikos said today. “In the midst of a global pandemic, the Treasurer finally has revealed the secret plan that the community has been fearful of all along,” Ms Pnevmatikos said. “The Marshall Liberal Government is not ruling out privatisation – that’s why they want to attack the conditions and safeguards for South Australian workers.” Ms Pnevmatikos said Mr Lucas’s open discussion about privatisation options was a stark contrast to Mr Marshall’s statement ahead of the 2018 election that the Marshall Liberal Government did not have a […]
April 21, 2021

Union calls for new mRNA vaccine facility to employ workers facing redundancy

Today the Victorian Government announced a $50 million investment into mRNA vaccine technology and research, so that COVID-19 vaccines using mRNA technology can be manufactured locally. The United Workers Union welcomes this decision to address this urgent crisis regarding the loss of advanced manufacturing jobs in Victoria, as evidenced by the impending closures of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and ExxonMobil’s manufacturing facilities in the coming year. These site closures will result in hundreds of highly skilled advanced manufacturing workers that are going to be made redundant, and until now have had no realistic opportunity to find further work in the sector. This announcement is a step in the right direction but further leadership and funding from the both State and Federal governments are required to rebuild Australia’s advanced manufacturing capacity. Quotes attributable to Tim Kennedy, National Secretary United Workers Union “United Workers Union welcomes today’s announcement by the Victorian Government […]
April 21, 2021

Health heroes fight for industrial action against SA Govt

Essential health workers will press their case today for state-wide industrial action to raise their concerns about privatisation and job cuts. The workers and their union will attend a tribunal hearing after a last-ditch attempt to block industrial action late yesterday by the Marshall Government, which sought to overrule work bans at eight hospitals and health centres. The South Australian Employment Tribunal ordered a compulsory conciliation this morning (EDS: 11.30AM WED). The work bans are scheduled to start at 12 noon today. Essential workers are launching rolling work bans to send a clear signal to the Marshall Government that privatisation of services and job cuts threaten the care of the state’s ill, elderly and most vulnerable. The concerns about privatisation and job cuts have been fueled by a 14-month delay in reaching a new enterprise agreement with 7,000 South Australian health heroes who have been on the frontline of the […]