• Thousands rally against attacks on ordinary Australians
  • Penalty rates cut the thin edge of the wedge
  • Union movement united in fighting back 

Construction worker Luke Allen took to the stage in front of thousands of unionists rallying in Sydney for the CFMEU-led national day of action last Thursday.

“As a father of four young children I am proud to be a construction worker, in a great industry of hard working men and women, we deserve better.

“I don’t want to see my kids grow up with less rights, entitlements and opportunity.”

Luke, who received rousing applause from the crowds, was one of thousands across the country who took part in the protest against the Liberals “war on the working class”. 

“With the re-introduction of the ABCC they want to take all of our conditions fought for by older generations away. Now it’s time for this generation to stand up and fight so our conditions are there for the next generation and generations to come,” Luke said.

In NSW the whole union movement was united in its rage over the “consistent and coordinated attacks” on working people from the ABCC and the Registered Organisations Bill to penalty rates cuts and the proposed privatisation of essential services like 1800 RESPECT.

New research released by the ACTU last week revealed slashing penalty rates for retail, hospitality, fast-food and pharmacists opens the door for pay cuts in many other sectors. Nurses, teachers, cleaners, community, social, disability and construction workers are all at risk. While a Centre for Future Work analysis found the penalty rates cut will worsen the gender pay gap with women already earning 33% less than men when part time and full time work is considered.

Unions NSW this week launched a penalty rates website designed as a hub for members to get informed and take action including emailing your MP, writing a letter to the editor, signing the petition and telling your story about what penalty rates mean to you. 


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