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December 2013

WA State Secretaries addess the rally

NO SILENCE ON SAFETY!
AMWU members rally to voice their disapproval as Australian offshore safety regulator NOPSEMA locks local unions out of an international safety conference in Perth
s delegates from around the world arrived at the 5th International Regulators Offshore Safety Conference in Perth on Monday October 21, union members were there to meet them to protest against being denied a seat at the table. Despite one of the Conference aims being achieving meaningful engagement of all those working offshore the Australian Governments National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environment Management

Unions combine to tell offshore regulator...

Authority (NOPSEMA) refused the ACTUs offer to provide a union speaker for the event. Its ridiculous workers are being locked out of a conference that is supposed to be about their own safety, WA AMWU Branch Secretary Steve McCartney said. Its frankly a disgrace that industry and government can contribute while workers and their union representatives are denied the same opportunity.

By showing up in force as international guests arrived, we sent a powerful message to government and business. There is no doubt they will think twice about trying to cut us out next time. With the Coalitions national antiworker agenda living up to our worst fears, it is more important than ever to be prepared to stand up and fight against government and business where workerss rights are under threat.

A CAMPAIGNING UNION
STATE SECRETARYS REPORT
with Steve McCartney
best of the unions ability. As far as I am concerned a worker is a worker no matter where they come from. The AMWU has advocated for better pay and conditions for 457 visa holders, to remove their vulnerability and dependence on the boss.

been more important to be a union member. The Coalition government hasnt been in two minutes and theyre showing all the signs of wanting to finish what they started with Workchoices. Already we have seen they want to limit workers access to their unions by letting the boss decide where we meet on site. In another move that Im not sure accords with their belief in free markets, they want to give their Federal Industrial Relations Minister power to veto pay rises he doesnt like (read: where workers get a better deal out of the boss through legitimate enterprise bargaining). They have relaxed guidelines on 457 visa criteria, now needing just a token advert on Facebook to satisfy labour market testing criteria. Now this is a difficult topic for our union. We value our 457 members and we will always represent them to the

ith the change in government its never

The Coalition government hasnt been in two minutes and theyre showing all the signs of wanting to finish what they started with Workchoices

However, at the end of the day 457 labour is temporary top-up labour. If there is no skills shortage then 457s are just another way to undercut Australian wages and conditions. The Coalition has already revamped the ABCC with new powers to target transport and maritime workers. The

power to imprison workers for six months just for refusing to answer questions is an absolute disgrace that would look more at home in Nazi Germany than in supposedly democratic Australia. We are still fundraising for our comrades caught with the ABCC in 2008. Details are over over the page, please give what you can. So how do we fight back? We organise. We build our strength in numbers. Over the upcoming holiday season I want all our members to talk to their mates about joining their union if they havent already. On that note I wish all our members a happy and safe festive season. Enjoy the break and get ready for a blue in the new year.

AMWU hosts Harold Peden Memorial Lecture I


t was standing room only at the AMWUs East Perth Office on November 12 as Tony Cooke presented the WA Labour History Societys Harold Peden Memorial Lecture 2013. With this year marking the fiftieth anniversary of the independent WA Trades and Labor Council, Tonys discussion of the ongoing relationship between the union movement and the Labor Party was particularly relevant. to Harold. The former head of the WA TLCs call for the union movement to reengage with society on a broader level was well received by the 80 strong crowd, as was his stirring tribute

Folllowing a rousing performance from Bernard Carney and the Working Voices Choir, WA State Secretary Steve McCartney formally dedicated the AMWUs training room as the Harold Peden Room, an appropriate honor for a man who believed so strongly in worker empowerment through education. The final highlight of the came as Steve and former AMWU President Keith Peckham dedicated the Societys new library to Neil Byrne, the heart and soul of the Labour History Society and one of the WA AMWUs longest serving and most valued members. Our Union has incredibly rich heritage and its events like the Harold Peden Lecture that build and strengthen our culture. Workers of today can learn of lot from the struggles of their predecessors, Mr McCartney said. The AMWUs East Perth Office is now the home of the Labour History Societys Neil Byrne Library and all members are welcome to come in and make use of a truly unique collection of labour movement history.

AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney, AMWU stalwart Neil Byrne and former AMWU President Keith Peckham

AMWU Perth office: 121 Royal St, East Perth Telephone: (08) 9223 0800 Fax:(08) 9225 4744 www.amwu.org.au

Union win at Wheatstone


Bechtel has backed down on plans to restrict site leave for FIFO workers at the Wheatstone project, after initially refusing to meet with the AMWU. Bechtel had tried to restrict site leave to the nearest town Onslow to just 50 employees per day. In response to Bechtels refusal to meet with us, the union got our Camps Not Prisons campaign up and running quick smart, State Secretary Steve McCartney said.

Union pressure wins the day after Bechtel tries to keep FIFO members cooped up in camp during R&R
The push was well supported by our members on the job and it proved just how serious we are about making sure workers got a chance to get out of the camp on their R and R. North-West Organiser Frank McLaughlin said he had spoken to business around Onslow and couldnt find any resistance to letting workers visit the town. If workers are coming into Onslow to buy a meal, a bit of fishing tackle and have a couple of pints local business is all for it, Frank said.

In Brief
Ante Prizmic: Union legend
Our union has more than its fair share of staunch activists, and Ante Prizmic is up there with the best. Ante joined up in 1975 and has been a proud member ever since. People like Ante are the ones we can thank for the wages and conditions all workers enjoy today. His mates tell us hes a bloody good boily too. Ante, you have well and truly earned your outstanding service award. Your union salutes your comrade!

Change of union guard in SW


After 6 years in South West as one of the AMWUs lead organisers, Alister Robinson is calling time on a stellar stint with our union. State Secretary Steve McCartney paid tribute to Alister and wished him all the best in his new challenge at the ETU. Ali has always been an absolute

Mining and Construction lead organiser Alister Robinson calls time at the AMWU, to take up a new challenge at ETU
professional, as any of our South West members will tell you, Steve said. While its a blow for us, Im pleased Alister will still be working in the movement. North West Organiser Michael Salt will be taking up the South West Organisers position in the New Year and is ready to hit the ground running.

Onya Ante, your union salutes you!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
on the The Courts have imposed massive fines on unionists who stood up set up have job in 2008. Their unions the AMWU, the CFMEU and the ETU an account* to fundraise for the fined workers. on. While the ABCC is dead (for the time being), its bastard legacy lives a send to need we each, 0 $10,00 With individuals being slugged up to lessen and cause just a for r togethe stand message that workers always the burden on our comrades and their families. U) and - State Secretaries Steve McCartney (AMWU), Mick Buchan (CFME Les McLaughlan (ETU)

If you know of any other outstanding conttributors to our union (minimum 30 years membership) let the office know on 9223 0800 and well make sure they are recognised.

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Elected officials from the three unions will be visiting sites over the next few weeks. Otherwise please direct deposit with your name and union to: Bank: Maritime Mining & Power Credit Union (MMPCU) BSB: 802 884 A/C number: 55273 Account name: Stabiliser For more information, please contact the state office of the AMWU (9223 0800) or CFMEU (9221 1055).

A CAMPAIGNING UNION
W
esTracs decision not to prioritise retention of Australian workers over Business justification for 457 labour has always been skills shortages. Obviously thats not the case when 435 WA workers and 70 apprentices are losing their jobs. This decision is by no means an isolated incident and it makes a mockery of the whole 457 visa program. The AMWU calls on WesTrac to immediately reverse its decision and prioritise retention of local workers first. Mr McCartney said the union had no issue with 457 workers themselves, but that the system was placing both overseas and local workers at a disadvantage. Everyone knows the rules. If there is no skill shortage then there is no need for temporary foreign labour. Its pretty

AMWU Perth office: 121 Royal St, East Perth Telephone: (08) 9223 0800 Fax:(08) 9225 4744 www.amwu.org.au

WesTrac makes a mockery of 457 visa system


simple. Mr McCartney said. Mr McCartney said it was obvious that Tony Abbotts plan to loosen up 457 visa criteria such as labour market testing would just make the problem worse. Its clear Mr Abbott just wants to let business run riot with the lives of workers, whether they are local or from overseas. With the recent downturn in employment opportunities, its clear the case for temporary labour is becoming more and more tenuous by the day. WesTracs approach shows there is absolutely no reason for Tony Abbott to hand more power to business over the lives of ordinary workers, wherever they come from. 457 visa holders as it sacks 435 employees exposes deep and fundamental flaws in the visa system, Australian Manufacturing Workers Union WA State Secretary Steve McCartney said. Mr McCartneys comments came after WesTrac told AMWU officials last month that 457 visa holders could be kept on while Australian workers were sacked as part of the companys savage job cuts this week. 457 visa labour is top up labour. Under no circumstances should it be used when we have local workers losing their jobs, Mr McCartney said.

Westracs apprentices raise a serious point...why not train our kids first?

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Your union has a couple of new initiatives to help you stay in touch with whats going on in your branch right around Western Australia. Weve just launched our new App for Apple and Android, which you can find by searching amwu wa at either store. Its got the latest events, member news, media, benefits, campaigns and more. Its free too so get on it. Weve also got a new Facebook page up over and like to stay in touch.

your union!
and running so head on the AMWU WA Branch We want your pictures and stories too - after all you are the union and its your page. Its all part of making sure we keep in touch with our members and give you what you want. And if technology isnt your thing, well still have printed copies of Manufacturing Matters every couple of months!