Australian unionists stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the Philippines #Stopredtagging

 Elmer Bong Labog, leader of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) union federation in the Philippines, called on Australian unionists and internationalists to stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters on a Solidarity Tour in Perth, Melbourne, Canberra, and Sydney.

Melbourne Meeting

Melbourne: over seventy-five internationalists hear Elmer’s call for solidarity

“The intensive harassment and repression of trade union members and working people in the Philippines deserves to be condemned by all who value basic human rights and the rule of law.”

On his solidarity tour, Elmer met with union members and leaders from the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), the Electrical Trades Union (ETU), UnionsWA, Public Services International (PSI) Asia Pacific, Victorian Trades Hall Council, Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Australian Nurses and Midwives Federation (ANMF), Australian Council of Trade Unions, (ACTU), the Financial Services Union (FSU), and the NSW Teachers Federation.

And union members responded to Elmer’s call, with strong numbers of activists attending the events. 

 GlennWA Meeting

In Perth, Elmer Labog met with the Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Perth Activist Group. After being welcomed by AMWU Secretary Glenn Thompson and meeting with UnionsWa Secretary Meredith Hammat and WA Greens leader Alison Xamon MLC, Elmer attended a wreath-laying ceremony at Solidarity Park in commemoration of the forty-six union members murdered in extra-judicial violence under the Duterte regime. 

 Solidarity Park WA

Perth: Wreath Laid in Commemoration of Murdered Philippine Unionists

In Melbourne, more than seventy-five Victorian unionists gathered to hear Elmer and Meryle in conversation with Brother Thy Yann from the Building Woodworkers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUB)  and Andrew Dettmer from the AMWU – Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union about trade union repression across the Asia Pacific.

The delegation met with Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’NeilLuke Hilakari Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, and Kate Lappin, Regional Secretary of Public Services International (PSI) Asia Pacific.

 ACTU Meeting

In Canberra, the Philippine delegation spoke with federal parliamentarians about the urgent need for the Australian government to pressure the Duterte regime to end the killings. They called for Australia to end its military aid of the Philippines military, which has been implicated in wide-spread human rights abuses against civil society activists and campaigners.

 Peter Solidarity

Canberra: Parliamentarians hear about trade union repression in the Philippines

“The right of working people to organise is guaranteed by international standards and national laws, including the ILO Convention on Freedom of Association, but these are being ignored by the Duterte regime in the Philippines. We call on the Australian government to suspend military assistance to the Duterte Regime.”
Elmer and Meryl spoke with: Senator Penny WongAdam Bandt MP, Senator Tony Sheldon, Senator Kim CarrSenator Tim AyresJosh Wilson MPPat Conroy MPPeter Khalil MPGed Kearney MP, Julian Hill MP, and Josh Burns MP
Collie Western Australian Workers Victorious After Australia’s Longest Coalfields Dispute
After 180 days of strike action and over 2 years of contract negotiations, with Indian muiltnational Lanco maintenance workers at Griffin Coal in Collie, Western Australia, returned to work at 7 am today. 
The 29 maintenance workers – all members of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU) – had been on strike for exactly 6 months, since August 2017. The workers entered their shift with an honour guard from the community and other trade union members.
“This is a victory for the members, they’ve fought to restore their family friendly rosters and rescue their stolen entitlements,” said AMWU WA Secretary Steve McCartney. 
“These workers are the text book example of how critically broken Australia’s workplace laws are. They have faced a termination of their conbtract from Griffin Coal, a long and drawn out struggle over more than 2 years, and a massive cut of 43% of their take home wages.
“This community has stood together and stood defiant against Lanco a multinational Indian owned company. They’ve protected their family-friendly rosters and gotten back their stolen entitlements – but it should have never been allowed to happen. This could all have been avoided if the Australian industrail  laws were fair and we had a system that delivered workplace democracy. 
“This is a victory of the entire Collie community, that has stood by Griffin Coal workers every step of the way.”
Lead delegate Jay Scoffern said that the dispute had been long and bitter, and had taken its toll on workers and the entire community.
“Collie is close knit community and we want to thank the entire town for their support of us through the whole time,” he said. 
“We also want to thank the unionists from every union who have backed us up and sent us their solidarity. Their support helped to keep us going.”
Mr McCartney said that Griffin Coal’s actions throughout this process – terminating an agreement, cutting pay by 43%, and attempting to steal entitlements and force anti-family rosters on a regional community – demonstrates why the rules are broken.  
“We need to be throwing out the the current Australain laws and demanding a system that respects workers, respects families and can’t be used as a weapon by foreign multinationals,” he said.  
Griffin coal is owned by Indian muiltnational Lanco.