In 2016 the NSW Government tried to privatise five public hospitals, but unions in NSW launched a campaign to stop them!
Working with health unions we organised in areas which were under threat of having their hospital privatised. We rallied community support to stop the privatisation. We held doorknocking, markets and street stalls at all major shopping centres, attending sporting and major events, candlelight vigils outside the hospitals, radio ads, and community awareness rallies.
We also used our political influence to run Politics in the Pub events and brought local MPs along to community forums, allowing the public to directly engage with the decision makers. Local MPs were overwhelmed by the strong community attendance and the immense opposition to the proposed hospital privatisations.
As pressure grew, local Liberal MPs withdrew support for their Government’s privatisation plan. The Government was forced to reverse it’s privatisation plans in the face of the vocal community campaign and a loss of support from its own MPs. This was a huge victory for the community and the union movement. It shows that unions working collectively with the community can win better services and conditions for all Australians.
The world of work is changing, with new forms of digitally enabled, gig-based work emerging. Known as the gig-economy, this form of work is eroding labour standards and turning traditional jobs into short term tasks with no employment protections.
In 2016 Unions NSW produced a report Innovation or Exploitation – Busting the Airtasker Myth . The report is a case study into the employment practices of Airtasker – the Australian leader in task-based work.
Following the release of the report. Unions NSW and Airtasker began discussions to improve minimum standards on the Airtasker website. In March 2017 Unions NSW and Airtasker came to an agreement that:
Prior to the Unions NSW Airtasker campaign there was no reference to minimum rates of pay, insurance cover or appropriate licensing for work performed through the site.
Since the heads of agreement was finalised, minimum rates of pay are now published on the site so that both job poster and workers are aware of the legal minima.
Airtasker now also offers injury insurance and is currently working with Unions NSW to develop safety resources for workers and users.
Unions NSW will keep pushing Airtasker and other gig economy platforms to reform their practices to ensure all workers have access to fair rates or pay and safe workplaces. We wish to see better pay and workplace standards across the gig economy.
In 2018, the NSW Government tried to gag third-party campaigners with threats of jail time if organisations worked together on political campaigns as well as unworkable caps on campaign spending. Police were also empowered to enter and search offices.
Unions NSW successfully challenged this move in High Court on the basis that it put a burden on the implied freedom of political communication under the Constitution.
This is a success shows how civil groups, like trade unions, environment groups and churches, can push back against attempts to muzzle them.
While the NRL has grown, respect for referees has stalled.
Since 2013, the pay and conditions of referees and players has diverged considerably. In 2018 alone, the salary cap increased approximately 30 percent, and revenue to the game increased 50 percent to $540 million.
The Professional Rugby League Match Officials are working to fix that and we’ve already had some big wins.
In 2018 the PRLMO pushed for and won.
Union Pride, our LGBTQI committee played a key role in leading high visibility activities and phoning voters to get out the YES vote!
Union Pride also organised posters across Sydney and promoted and encouraged members to attend official YES rallies to support the initiative.
YES material was distributed to union workplaces to ensure union members had an opportunity to highlight and promote the campaign in their workplace.
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