This May Day, trade unions are warning attacks on workplace rights and social entitlements will expand Australia’s widening inequality gap.

A report released by UNICEF in the last fortnight reveals 2.5 million Australians live in poverty, and the number is growing. The Fairness for Children report also found Australia ranks a lowly 27 out of 35 for health equality and 24 out of 37 for education equality among OECD nations.

As trade unionists march to mark today’s International Workers’ Day, Unions NSW Secretary, Mark Morey, warned the inequality gap would widen if conservative politicians and business lobbyists succeed in cutting wages, penalty rates and the right to collectively bargain.

“The best antidote to inequality is a well paid, secure job that allows families to plan a life free from economic anxiety. That is what we are marching for today,” Mr Morey said.

“The coming federal election represents a crossroads for Australian workers with issues such as corporate tax avoidance, workplace rights and the privatisation of Medicare among the top priorities of working people.

“The recent Panama Papers scandal shows the financial elite are breaking away from the rest of society, dodging their tax obligations and endlessly lobbying to cut wages and entitlements.

“Our industrial and social rights haven’t been won without a fight. The eight hour day, the right to a living wage, collective bargaining and universal access to health and education must be defended.

“It has never been more important to stand up and be counted.”

The May Day march will kick off at 11am this Sunday May 1 from Belmore Park (Across from Central Station, Sydney) and finish up in Victoria Park (corner Broadway and City Roads) where everyone can enjoy a fun filled day with free rides, food stalls, singing, dancing, laughing and above all else community solidarity.

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