Sally McManus ACTU Secretary launched the ACT We are Union Women network in 2017. The network is a feminist, unionist, activist group, campaigning for social change, justice and to build the union movement’s ability to win on issues for women. IEU Organisers Berna Simpson, Jackie Groom and Lyn Caton are inaugural members, with Caton taking a place on the Committee Executive.
In 2018 there were 66 women murdered due to gender based violence. The IEU has actively lobbied politicians seeking their support for access to 10 days paid domestic violence leave to be enshrined in the National Employment Standards and Modern Awards.
As part of the We Won’t Wait campaign, committee delegates have lobbied MPs such as Linda Burney, Gai Brodtmann, Janet Rice, Darren Hinch and Andrew Leigh, seeking support for paid family and domestic violence leave, and as a result their support was assured.
The strength and dedication of these Union women was recognised at a recent awards ceremony, the ACT Government Violence Prevention Awards, held in December, where the IEU Committee won the award in the workplace category.
In December the Morrison government passed legislation to include the right to take up to five days unpaid family and domestic violence leave in the National Employment Standards. It will be an annual entitlement available to all employees, including part time and casual staff.
“No one should be choosing between their job and their safety. We must always keep in our minds what the feminist movement has taught us; the personal is political,” Caton said.