Media Releases – Page 2 – United Workers Union
September 25, 2020

United Workers Union stands in solidarity with School Strike 4 Climate

Statement attributable to Jo Schofield, National President of the United Workers Union: United Workers Union stands in solidarity with the students fighting for action on the climate crisis. Climate justice is an issue for our union because it is about equality. Fighting for equality is why trade unions exist – and why we have existed for a hundred years. We are seeing a world – and a country – that has become more unequal. Corporate greed has led to the plundering of our resources in the interests of profit, not planet or people. In Australia, the Federal Government has chosen to support tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations over the injection of funds to transform our economy and create good, sustainable jobs. Corporate greed has led to the abuse of human rights around the globe, and an attack on trade unions and workers’ rights to organise. At a time when the […]
September 10, 2020

Online rally calls on UTAS to reverse dangerous 296-hour cut to cleaning time

MEDIA ALERT WHEN: TODAY Thursday 10 September at 3:30 pm AEST WHERE: Live stream at WHAT: Cleaners and union members across Australia participate in a virtual picket line calling on the University of Tasmania to reverse their cuts to cleaning hours. WHO: Impacted cleaners Anna Reay, Sudha Giri Puri and Maree Cummings, and United Workers Union spokesperson Sarah Ellis. Cleaners from the University of Tasmania (UTAS) will rally online today, demanding Vice-Chancellor Rufus Black reverse the dangerous 296-hour cut to cleaning time on campuses.  This cut to cleaning time is not only a significant slashing of livelihoods, but also threatens Tasmania’s COVID-free status.  When cleaners spoke up about their concern for the health and safety of students and staff, UTAS falsely claimed that the union members were lying.  “We want UTAS to tell the truth,” says cleaner Anna Reay, whose hours have been reduced by 40 per cent at the Newnham campus. “It’s a kick […]
September 9, 2020


Queensland workers have welcomed State Parliament passing new wage theft laws today that will see bosses found to steal pay from workers face jail time. United Workers Union – the union for workers in industries rife with wage theft, such as hospitality, security, cleaning, food production and more – welcomed the laws passing after years of campaigning by members. The new laws recognise the many forms of wage theft committed by employers, including underpayment, unpaid trials, withholding super, sham contracting, expired agreements, and not paying penalty rates and other entitlements. Sunshine Coast hospitality worker Tara Small, a member of United Workers Union’s hospitality arm Hospo Voice, said it was a huge day for workers who had their wages stolen by dodgy bosses. “Bosses who steal wages should go to jail, it’s as simple as that,” Ms Small said. “These laws passed by the Queensland Government today mean our bosses will […]
September 4, 2020

Agriculture Workers’ Code – no solution without visa amnesty and quarantine support

Statement attributable to Jannette Armstrong, United Workers Union Farms Director, regarding the National Cabinet update on the Agriculture Workers’ Code.  Agriculture Minister David Littleproud presented an agricultural code to the National Cabinet today. While this is a positive move, it does not go far enough to meaningfully address the labour crisis in our horticulture sector. Without steps to resolve and regularise the visa status of tens of thousands of farmworkers who have been working and residing in Australia for years, many workers will still not be able to cross borders. Without a visa amnesty, too many farmworkers will remain unemployed and the high quality, local fresh fruit and vegetables Australians need will be left to rot in the fields. Despite paying taxes in Australia, these workers have had no access to Federal Government support during the COVID-19 downturn – no JobKeeper, no JobSeeker – and have been cut off from […]
September 3, 2020


News of a positive COVID-19 test by an aged care worker in Laidley in South East Queensland highlights the risks aged care workers are facing every day they go to work, United Workers Union’s aged care director Carolyn Smith said today. “Our thoughts are with the residents, families and workers of the affected facility after this terrible news today,” Ms Smith said. “We have seen how devastating coronavirus can be inside aged care. “What we need to see now from the Queensland and Federal Governments is that lessons have been learned from the aged care disasters in NSW and Victoria.” Ms Smith said these lessons include: Availability and use of adequate personal protective equipment. Provision of specialist infection control teams. Consideration of speedy removal to hospital of any resident affected by coronavirus. Provision of a trained and adequate alternative workforce if workers are forced to quarantine. “We will be seeking […]
September 2, 2020

Australia’s COVID-19 sparked recession – now is not the time to scale back JobKeeper

Workers, who have been left in the lurch with a reduced rate and even harsher eligibility as JobKeeper changes passed in Parliament yesterday, have today learned of Australia’s first recession in 30 years. JobKeeper changes are due to come into effect nationwide in less than four weeks’ time, despite the fact Melbourne is currently still under strict lockdown and the threat of COVID-19 remains across the country. Employers have also been given the power to cut workers’ hours even if revenue has nearly returned to pre-COVID operations. From September 28, payments for part-timers (working less than 20 hours) will fall to $750 a fortnight from the end of the month, then to $650 a fortnight at the start of next year. The full-time JobKeeper payment will fall to $1,200 a fortnight, followed by a further drop at the beginning of January 2021 to $1,000. These changes during this unprecedented economic […]
September 2, 2020

Educators petition Dan Tehan for a wage guarantee on Early Childhood Educators’ Day

MEDIA ALERT WHEN: TODAY, Wednesday 2 September at 10:15 am WHERE: Parliament House Lawns, Canberra WHAT:  Educators will be taking action on the Parliament House Lawns, setting up a display featuring their qualifications and messages to the Federal Government about why they feel hung out to dry, before delivering a petition to Dan Tehan with over 10,000 signatures calling on more support for educators in lockdown. WHO: Workers in early childhood education and care. NOTE: Everyone attending this event will be expected to adhere to current social distancing guidelines. Today Australia celebrates frontline workers in early education on Early Childhood Educators’ Day. But this year, early childhood educators feel hung out to dry by the Federal Government during the COVID-19 crisis. Educators were the first workers to be cut from JobKeeper, and have faced months of uncertainty and financial hardship.  Over 10,000 people signed a petition in support of Victorian educators in just a few […]
August 31, 2020

United Workers Union welcomes launch of Early Childhood Strategy for the ACT

The United Workers Union welcomes today’s launch of the ACT Government’s “Set up for Success: An Early Childhood Strategy for the ACT”. UWU’s Helen Gibbons said, “The launch of this strategy shows the ACT Government is valuing educators and valuing children. “Most importantly, this strategy acknowledges the link between valuing early childhood educators and better outcomes for children. Quality early childhood education and care is a vital cornerstone for our society. “The ACT Government’s approach is based on the overwhelming evidence that quality early childhood education and care makes a significant developmental impact on children. “The Union welcomes the strategy’s recognition of the significant contributions of early childhood educators to children, families, communities and our society. “By recognising the direct, positive educational and developmental impact the workforce has on children, the ACT Government can improve outcomes for children by supporting educators.” The new ACT Government strategy outlines the ACT Government’s […]
August 31, 2020

Aged Carers Speak Out: ‘Thank You Is Not Enough’

Aged care workers across Australia are speaking out about the appalling conditions they face while working in aged care, sending a message to employers and politicians: “Thank you is not enough.” In a week of action, aged care workers are sharing their stories of the challenges they face working in the historically understaffed, underfunded and underpaid sector. Based on the annual Aged Care Workers Day on September 2, aged care workers are telling the Federal Government that gratitude without addressing a broken system is just empty words. South Australian aged care worker Ehying says: “In a 12-hour shift I sometimes walk more than 25,000 steps as I provide care to those I care for. “I have been a personal care attendant for 19 years and I love my job. “But the expectations on carers are too high and there’s not enough time to do the job properly. Thank you is […]