If nothing else, 2022 has shown us the power of collective action can extend far beyond the workplace, into all aspects of our everyday lives.
Here are just a few stories – out of many – where organised workers should take huge pride in their work.
Paid family and domestic violence leave enshrined in legislation
The Australian Services Union kickstarted a decade-long campaign advocating for 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave to become a right for all workers in Australia. Knocked back time and time again by consecutive Coalition governments, these unionists did not waver.
But now, working women across Australia soon have access to the paid leave that plays such a crucial role in breaking the cycle of violence at home.
Thank you to the many thousands of union members around the country who have tirelessly campaigned to win this critical new right. We are able to celebrate this achievement because of your dedication and perseverance.
A tug-of-war by brave union members
July storms saw a stranded cargo ship battered with relentless rain and wind for three days in waters near Sydney. Heroic efforts from the tugboat rescue crew saw the 21 people on board the ship come into port safe and sound.
So, when their multinational employer wasn’t budging when it came to better pay or job security, the same kind of collective action at force on those stormy seas was taken to the bargaining room. Tough? Tough.
Undervalued workers secure pay rises
With their unions, workers in some of Australia’s most underpaid and exploited industries finally won their well-earned pay rises.
Across the board, we saw the minimum wage receive a 5.2 per cent facelift in July, as well as the removal of the previous $450 threshold for super contributions.
Recently, many aged care workers finally received an interim 15 per cent pay rise in workplaces that are well-known for understaffing and poor pay.
Journalists and media workers also made strides this year in negotiating decent pay rises in an industry that hasn’t seen any for years.
In case you missed it, Nine news corporation came under fire for grossly exploiting and underpaying their journalists, sub-editors, photographers and cartoonists.
The grim reality is that some of Australia’s biggest newspapers are being held up by an almost entirely freelance workforce. But members of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance shone a spotlight on these dodgy practices, reminding media CEOs that freelance work does not equal working for free.
Again, these steps are incremental but form a solid foundation in paving the way to better pay.
As the cost of living continues to skyrocket, unions will continue to fight for these improvements that make real differences in the lives of working people.
Recognition for working parents
Working parents – particularly working mothers – got their due this year when the Albanese Government expanded on the previous paid parental leave scheme from 18 weeks to 26 weeks.
Childcare responsibilities are shouldered by women with little to no tangible recognition or support. With the help of unions, we will begin to see this change.
And then there was the win that underpinned countless union wins of 2022: the Federal Election. Many of union-led achievements this year came to fruition as a direct result of this change in government.
Many of the causes we’d been fighting for, shelved in the past by Coalition governments, were at last propelled with the help of the new Albanese Government.
Today, we’re celebrating all the great union members who really made things happen this year. You can hop on the bandwagon for 2023 by joining your union today.