Teachers are seen by the community as an ‘authentic voice’ and are therefore in demand by Unions NSW, who are looking for volunteer doorknockers for their campaign Build a Better Future.
Unions NSW Assistant Secretary Emma Maiden addressed IEU Council on 15 August to rally support for the new campaign, which is also backed by the ACTU.
Build a Better Future is based on research carried out by unions which found people were concerned about six issues: workers rights, education, Medicare, public service cuts, retirement and a fair go for all.
Emma said defending paid parental leave was a key issue in defending workers’ rights, as were fighting some of the suggestion in the Productivity Commission draft report into workplace relations, which suggested reduced penalty rates as well as making it easier for employers to pay below award rates.
“The union movement has spent a 100 years building up living standards . . . we’re always trying to improve on them,” Emma said.
“But we’re on the cusp of seeing things start to go backwards. Forces are marshalling against us.”
In terms of education, the campaign would fight for the full Gonski funding for schools and no deregulation of university fees. For health it would fight for universal health care; for public services it would attempt to stop the ‘privatisation by stealth’ of institutions like the ABC and cuts to CSIRO, and it would fight for a secure retirement.
A fair got for all would look at tax, especially corporations which were avoiding paying their fair share, and the GST.
“I’m glad the union movement is starting to address tax issues,” Emma said.
Unions NSW will be looking for volunteer doorknockers on the weekend of 12 and 13 September to talk about the campaign in marginal seats.
See the Unions NSW website www.unionsnsw.org.au for details.