All the latest news and views from the CPSU team

Life without a union…

WHY do we need unions?

While there are many reasons, a recent Tasmanian story is a great example.

Workers at the Rio Tinto Bell Bay Smelter hadn’t been able to collectively bargain at the Bell Bay site since 1994.

Rio Tinto aggressively de-unionised the workforce in the 1990s, meaning workers were put on individual contracts.

The Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) says that process operators at Bell Bay were paid about $22,000 less than operators doing the same role in Victoria, and that if two Australian workers are doing the same job they should be paid the same.

On this win, National Secretary AWU Paul Howes said it was great for these Tasmanian workers, who now had a chance to improve their conditions and pay.

“Workers at Bell Bay know that they are stronger together, and by joining the AWU they can have a greater say in how their workplace operates,” he said.

“When individuals try to negotiate a better deal out of big global companies like Rio Tinto, which owns Pacific Aluminum, they simply don’t stand a chance.

“But by joining forces workers can make their voices heard, and push for changes to make their working lives better.”


Without unions, workers are left at the mercy of the employer, when it comes to wages and conditions. And who do you think has the most power to negotiate?

Please share this great win for workers with your friends.




The Australian:

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