Labour Day sees huge turnout of union members calling for rules to change
More than 60,000 union members rallied across Queensland over the Labour Day long weekend, with IEUA-QNT members leading the way alongside the Finance Sector Union (FSU) as we each marked our centenaries.
Union members also gathered for May Day celebrations in Darwin and Alice Springs.
Labour Day and May Day are an opportunity to celebrate the many wins of the union movement, but are also an important time to focus on fighting for fairness into the future.
This year’s celebrations focused on the need to Change The Rules for working people. With the federal government refusing to endorse the Change The Rules agenda, it is now clear we need to change the government.
In Brisbane, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Secretary Sally McManus joined the march and particularly acknowledged our union’s 100 year anniversary.
“I want to congratulate IEU members on the centenary of their union,” Ms McManus said.
“It’s such a huge achievement to reach 100 years and there’s not many unions around the world that are as old and as strong as our unions here in Australia.
“[It’s] 100 years of fighting for fairness, for recognition of professional wages – also the big fights you went through to make sure that you were paid equally to teachers in the public sector.
“A long proud struggle [of] a proud union. Congratulations on 100 years!”
IEUA-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said the varied achievements of our union – from benchmark setting bargaining outcomes to the many school-level battles fought and won by IEUA-QNT Chapters – were testament to our collective strength.
“As a union we have achieved so much and that is primarily due to members’ passion, resilience and commitment.
“It is something to be very proud of and something that should be celebrated.”
Terry Edwards, Life Member and Former President of our union in 70s and 80s, attended the march in Brisbane and reflected on the significance of Labour Day.
“Labour Day is simply to remember what has been put forward by workers before us and to continue to work to get freedom and equality for all people.”
“Union means community, joining together, it’s strength, it’s the future. Without it, we’re nothing.”
IEUA-QNT members marching on Labour Day and May Day added their strong voice to the Change The Rules campaign.
Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) Secretary Ros McLennan said with less than two weeks until election day on 18 May, a change in government is the only way to change the rules and restore a fair go for working people.
“Real wage growth is close to zero and the past three years has seen the biggest drop in our living standards in thirty years. Meanwhile the richest one percent of Australians own more than the bottom 70 per cent,” said Ms McLennan.
“Around four million Australians – including hundreds of thousands of Queensland workers – are in insecure work, one of the highest levels in the developed world.
“They are stuck in labour hire, casual work or on sham contracts. They don’t have basic rights like paid leave, and often don’t know how much work or pay they will get week to week. This makes it hard for Queensland families to plan for their financial futures.
“Working people are struggling to make ends meet because of the policies of this government which have devastated their rights and their ability to negotiate fair pay rises,” she said.
Read more about the Change The Rules campaign at www.changetherules.org.au