The Guardian • Issue #2070


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2070

As temperatures climb, and heatwaves become more common, it’s worth remembering that unions achieve and enforce protection against heat. As a comrade in the Rail Tram and Bus Union writes from Queensland in Labor Today International ‘we have an agreed temperature limit of 35 Celsius outdoor and even indoor. We held an historic strike in which we enforced all buses to be air-conditioned water bottles of a minimum of 2 litres. The success of this strike is that it spread the conditions to all other workers. All work should stop if ambient temperature exceeds 41 centigrade measures against heat stress should begin at 35 no workers without water and shade to retreat to.’

Anyone who thought that Qantas was about to become easier to love might want to think again at the news that Qantas subsidiary JetStar has informed customers that any flight credits they have from the Covid-19 pandemic  have expired.

New South Wales teachers are celebrating a win on pay scales after tireless campaigning by thousands of teachers. NSW Teachers Federation acting President, Henry Rajendra thanked union members for their efforts and said: “We can not forget this staffing crisis was a direct result of the former government’s wage cap that artificially suppressed teachers’ pay and their policy failures that pushed more and more work on to teachers resulting in intolerable and unmanageable workloads.”

Working people across the nation are not mourning the departure of Phillip Lowe from the position of governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (see previous Guardians for the Party’s view of his decisions). ACTU President Michele O’Neil said “For too long, there has been a real divide between the decision-making process of the RBA and the lived experiences of working people.” O’Neil has urged the RBA to focus on full employment as a priority.

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: Harvey Norman will be sitting comfortably today after posting pre-tax profits of $1.13 billion for the 2023 financial year, an increase from $688.60 million in 2019. The announcement comes as Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey pushed for a cut to the minimum wage in real terms in this year’s Annual Wage Review. This follows on from Harvey’s comments in 2020, where he called the global pandemic an “opportunity,” with his corporation doubling its profits while refusing to pay back JobKeeper. At a time where corporations are forcing working people to pay higher prices and cut back on providing for their families, Gerry Harvey and his executives continue to reap massive profits. The announcement of Harvey Norman’s billion-dollar profits reinforces the ACTU’s call for working people to enjoy a fair share of the profits they generate and the need for a price-gouging inquiry. ACTU Assistant Secretary Joseph Mitchell noted that Gerry Harvey and his corporate lobbyists called for pay cuts before, during, and after the pandemic. “They gloat to their shareholders about raking in over a billion dollars in profit, meanwhile they tell working people they don’t deserve better.”

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