The USU’s Winter 2020 edition of United has been sent to members. Check it out.
It is hard to comprehend what we have gone through since our last magazine. Devastating bushfires, an ongoing and severe drought and now a worldwide pandemic that has struck at the very heart of our society.
It has kept family from family and friends apart. It has changed the way we socialise, the way we work and the way we travel.
Through all of it I am proud to say that the USU and our members have continued to fight for what we have always stood for – respect and a fair go.
I am heartened to see included in this journal stories that pre-date the Covid-19 shutdowns. Our metro picnic day, our walk to Save Our Sons and even a healthy challenge from members at Goulburn Mulwaree Council to compete for the Depot games.
These things are not only reminders of a simpler time but they are also promises of a better future.
Our members have been impacted by this crisis on so many levels it is hard for me to identify one group who is not doing it tough – either because their industry has been shut down or because they work in an essential service that meant facing the virus full on and ensuring the safety and well-being of our community.
Our airlines members were hit hard and continue to struggle, as not only international travel but also Australia-wide travel is curtailed.
The airlines are reviewing their operations, making workers unsure of what is in store. This was made worse by the announcement in April that Virgin Australia were being put into administration.
While this has been devastating we have seen the fighting spirit of our members as they stand together (safely) and call for a fair go from the Morrison Government.
While JobKeeper has kept many families afloat it has also left many behind. Our aviation workers across Australia are calling for “AviationKeeper”, recognising that this payment needs to extend beyond September and needs to apply to all workers.
I am proud that we have been able to lobby government for child care subsidies and a local government stimulus package. The union is extremely proud to have successfully negotiated the Splinter Award when local government workers were left out of the JobKeeper scheme.
As outlined by our President Glen McAtear, through all of this we have also been able to successfully negotiate and hold a successful ballot on our Local Government Award.
I wish to thank the USU Executive for responding in such a strong and positive way to protecting our staff, officials, delegates and members.
Despite restrictions on how we have been able to operate we have represented our members as successfully as ever. From the beginning of this crisis we had two main aims – to keep staff, officials, delegates and members safe and to protect our members’ jobs, wages and conditions. That fight continues. I urge you to stay safe.
Graeme Kelly OAM
United Services Union