The Great Strike of 1917

Usually referred to as the "New South Wales General Strike", but referred to by contemporaries as "the Great Strike", it was in fact neither general nor confined to NSW. The strike was however a mass strike, involving around 100,000 workers, mostly in NSW and Victoria. It began in New South Wales on the 2nd of August 1917 when Randwick Tram Workers walked of the job in protest at the 'card system' imposed by management. Eveleigh rail workers joined them and soon after spread to other states over six weeks from 2 August to 8 September 1917.

It took two weeks for all the railway strikers to return, however, as rank and file meetings initially rejected the official capitulation. Outside the railways, significant groups such as the waterside workers in Sydney and Melbourne, and the Hunter Valley coal mines remained out until November (or December in the case of the Melbourne waterfront) as in their case the use of strikebreakers had turned the strike into a lockout.

During the Great Strike those workers that remained on strike in defiance of government and employer threats became known as the Lilywhites. The strike the government called on farmer organisations to enlist scab labour from the large numbers of unemployed particularly from drought stricken areas. In NSW 'Rural Volunteers' were organised by the farmers and graziers organisations and conservative country MP's.

To commemorate the 1917 Great Strike, Unions NSW has formed a committee to organise a series of events and resources to mark this centenary. These will include working with community organisations on a range of activities, public events, displays and educational resources.

The Centenary Medallion, produced to commemorate the significance of the strike can be purchase for $10 by contacting the Hunter Workers office.

The 1917 Centenary Committee and Unions NSW invites friends of the labour movement to join us in a celebration of the Centenary of the 1917 Great Strike.

Speakers include

  • Alex Claassens, RTBU NSW Branch Secretary
  • Sally McManus, Secretary ACTU
  • John Graham, MLC
  • Mark Morey, Secretary Unions NSW

The Dinner is being held to celebrate the contribution of the Union of men and women who took industrial action and whose courage inspired generations of labor leaders including Prime Minister Ben Chifley, Premier JJ Cahill and Eddie Ward MP.

The 1917 Centenary Dinner is being held in honour and to remember the men and women whose struggles contributed so much to the development of future generations of labour movement leaders.

The dinner will be held at the Carriageworks, Eveleigh, along with a number of other events including exhibitions, guided tours and a community day celebrating the achievement and courage of the many great Unionists.

Tickets can be purchased @ eventbrite or by contacting Robyn Griffith @




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CUB Back on Tap

Workers United will Never be Defeated

Today the news that CUB - InBev have agreed to all the terms put by the CUB55 has left workers across the nation ecstatic.

The dispute erupted 6 months ago when Carlton United United Breweries sacked 55 ETU and AMWU members, then offering their jobs back at 65% less pay. Many of these maintenance workers had been committed many years of service to CUB to ensure the company delivered a high standard quality product.

CUB never expected the fight that lay ahead that saw the Australian Public join with the Union Movement in boycotting CUB products in Solidarity with the CUB55.

CUB workers won:

  • Every worker able to return if they desire
  • Their original pay and conditions
  • No Involuntary redundancies
  • Any new contractors must meet these conditions
  • Temporary non-union workforce will be leaving

Hunter Workers would like to thank all the Businesses and Workers in the Newcastle/Hunter Region that supported the CUB55 in their campaign for what is right, just and fair. WOOHOO!!!


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16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence against Women.

Violence against women is still happening in our Community


To date 67 women have been murdered due to 'family or domestic' violence.

White Ribbon Day on the 25th November will begin the 16 day's of Activism that will run through to the 10th of December on International Human Rights Day.

16 day's of Activism will honour the murdered women and bring light to the tragedy that is happening in our communities.

Events happening for the Newcastle:

"REMEMBERING THE WOMEN"  25th November - 10th December

Installation honouring the women who have been murdered in Australia in 2016
Multiple venues in Newcastle and Maitland.

For more information:



Alchemy Art Space
488 Hunter St Newcastle
Expressions of strength, resilience, courage and innate beauty and pride.

For more information:


For the 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence Against Women at 20+ cafes across the Hunter.



"WHITE RIBBON BREAKFAST" 25th November 7 - 10am

Wests New Lambton, Starlight Room.
Join us to stand up and say "NO" to violence against women. Hear from inspiring speakers including White Ribbon Ambassador and former Newcastle Knight Clint Newton and domestic violence survivor Sherryne Smith.
There will also be performances from local students.

Book Online:

"STILL WATERS" 25th November 4:30 - 6pm

The LockUp, 90 Hunter St Newcastle.
The University of Newcastle is inviting the Newcastle community to attend the screening of the award-winning short film, Still Waters, and rethink domestic and family violence.
STILL WATERS is a short film written and directed by UK filmmaker Timur Bernard. The film explores an oppressive relationship between a competing swimmer and her increasingly controlling husband.


"VOCAL CHRISTMAS TREE OF ANGELS" 26th November 2:30 - 5:30pm

St Johns Anglican Church, Parry St, Cooks Hill
VOCAL brings an annual ceremony to survivors, family and friends to honour their personal journey and memories.        Survivors, family & friends are invited to place a special angel ornaments onto the strong, supportive arms of the VOCAL Christmas tree, and together we will build our 2016 Christmas Tree of Angels.

For more information:

"WOMEN OF WORDS" 27th November 6 - 8pm

Good Brother Espresso Shop, 40 King St, Newcastle.
Soulful sounds and voices of Gabrielle Jones, Linda Ireland, Kerri Shying and Dael Allison.
$10 entry.

"100 ALICE STORIES LUNCHEON" 30th November 12 noon

George Tavern, East Maitland
Join the Luncheon and dine with Guest Presenter Kellie Mills of the 100 Alice Stories Project. Come and learn about the Project from its inspiration and conception to its current state now. Learn how it has affected awareness of Domestic Violence and assist in the healing journey of Survivors.


"WORLD AIDS DAY" 1st December
"WALK A MILE KOORI STYLE" 2nd December 9am

Walk A Mile Koori Style an annual community event started in Newcastle in 2013.
Boys and men meet at Fletcher Park (across the road from Newcastle Police Station).
9:45am: Acknowledgment to Country.
10am: Walk a Mile Koori Style up Watt Street to King Edward Park. Aboriginal youth will lead the walk, with other boys, men and groups following after them. Aunts, Elders, mothers, sisters, aunts, wives, girlfriends and children of the walkers will be waiting in King Edward Park. A BBQ and entertainment will then be provided in the park by local musicians and dance groups.
More information @

"FEMINIST TRIVIA" 2nd December 6pm

Gallipoli Club Hamilton
Fundraiser for AWE - Women's Activist Group Newcastle


For more information:

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ME Bank - A Better Deal for Hunter Workers

all about ME

Every Australian deserves to get the most out of their money. We’re here to help them do it.

We were originally created by member-owned industry super funds to be a fairer home loan lender, helping Australians reach the dream of owning their own home. These days we’re a fully fledged bank, but our profits still go back to the industry super funds – the very same ones that look after the retirement savings of more than seven million Australians.

We help Australians get ahead. We give you ways to get more from your savings, pay less on your loans and cut down on fees – however we can, whenever we can.

We’re making banking as simple as possible. You shouldn’t have to wade through jargon to find what you need, and opening an account should be easy.

And because financial know-how doesn’t always come naturally, we give you tools to spend wiser and save smarter: things like our online school of money ‘ed’, which is fast, free and simple to use.

More for members.

As a member of Hunter Workers, you’ve got access to ME’s Member Benefits Program – a full program of special offers and deals to help you get more from your banking.

Here are just some of offers on offer for Hunter Workers members:

More on home loans,
Save more with ME’s already-low rates.

More on everyday accounts,
Enjoy bonus offers to make your money go further.

More on credit cards,
Save with a competitive low rate.

ME has new special deals regularly; to find out what’s available right now check out:

Make the most of ME.

Terms, conditions, fees and charges apply. Applications for credit are subject to credit approval. 
This is general information only and you should consider if these products are appropriate for you.
Members Equity Bank Ltd ABN 56 070 887 679 AFSL and Australian Credit Licence 229500

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Jobs For Women Film Project

Jobs for Women is the true story of women who ignite a campaign for employment equality that changes Australia forever. What begins with a handful of women in Wollongong confronting BHP,the country’s largest company, grows into a community-wide 14-year battle from the Steelworks gates to the highest court in the land.

Its protagonists are not celebrities or stars – but young working class and migrant women who, through tireless struggle coupled with community solidarity, take an extraordinary stand against a titanic foe, despite their many language and cultural differences.
It is a tale of solidarity, friendship, equality, justice, and human spirit – yet it is a story of victory through struggle that is virtually unknown to the wider public. Hear what Jenny George has to say about the campaign that a community together and turn the Australian Industrial landscape on it's head.

The Jobs for Women Producers Group has come together to right this wrong.

Led by women, the team includes leading participants from the campaign, long-time film professionals, writers and researchers, united by our vision to bring this story to life through a feature film.
This is an epic tale, full of passion and humour, with unexpected twists and turns. It is a story that will be widely embraced – one that deserves to be seen.

The Story so far...

The Producers Group has been in existence for twelve months, following the production of the award-winning documentary Radical Wollongong which included a short section on the Jobs for Women campaign. Drawing together campaign participants, professional filmmakers, writers and researchers, the group is committed to bringing this epic story to the big screen where it belongs.

A crowdfunding campaign to test support for making the film attracted almost 200 contributors and exceeded the target of $25,000. This funding was used to research and develop the story, interview 22 participants in the Jobs for Women campaign, upgrade camera equipment, and produce a teaser film ‘The Women Who Were Never There’.

Click here for Newcastle screening dates.

It was filmed over 6 production days in December 2015, involving 27 actors with speaking roles, more than 60 volunteer extras, 14 crew, and multiple location and studio shoots. The total budget from pre-production through to post-production was just over $25,000. If the volunteer labour and other support-in-kind was costed at minimal rates, the true budget would be closer to $50,000.

The experience of making this short film was essential in bringing the team together in a challenging work environment. It developed strong networks of support for the project among actors, film crew and the general public. It produced an impressive film that is a microcosm of what could be achieved.

The next step...

Part of our plan for the feature film is to raise further funds. Following successful screenings in Wollongong and Sydney, we are taking the short film on a ‘funding ‘tour to state capitals and regional centres.

This will involve discussions with those who may be prepared to back the feature film. We will be asking trade unions, women’s organisations, legal groups and film funding bodies to financially support the film.

We look forward to talking with all interested parties to ensure a key feminist, migrant and working class struggle is captured on film, as part of our collective history.

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The Peoples Inquiry into Privatisation in Australia.

What is ‘the Peoples Inquiry’?
The People’s inquiry into privatisation is an independent public inquiry into the effects privatisation on Australian communities.
The Public inquiry will look at the premise that public services are here to serve people and their communities. The inquiry will explore issues such as equity in access to services, accountability and transparency, as well as the economic impact at the community level.

What is the role of government in providing services needed for the types of communities most Australians want to live in?

The Public inquiry will be chaired by David Hetherington. The panelists what to hear from Hunter workers about the real life stories of how privatisation has affected our lives.

Unions meet.

On Tuesday the 23rd August 2016, affiliated unions met at the Hunter Unions Building in Newcastle to discuss our plans to ensure Hunter workers voices are heard at the upcoming Peoples inquiry at the Travelodge September 5th from 4pm to 7pm.

Why Newcastle?

There is no doubt that Newcastle is the engine room of the New South Wales economy.
With such a diverse range of industry and government services, Novocastrians tend to be at the forefront of change.
Privatisation of the Port of Newcastle along with electricity generation and distribution, the removal of the public safety net in the disability sector and vocational education being opened up for what is seen as lucrative private profit, whilst taking advantage of our most vulnerable in our communities.

Share your privatisation story.

Hunter Workers needs to hear from you about your experience with privatisation.
Public services are here to serve people and their communities.

If we don't fight, who will? If not now then when?

  • NGO’s and volunteers, funding shortfalls,
  • TAFE, course changes, debt and disabilities, RTO’s,
  • Health, disability services, hospitals, access to services, WHS of public service, workforce job insecurity, vulnerability in provider funding, public safety net, women and homeless services,
  • Transport, rail services, bus services and depots, assets sales, changes in service, impact on workers, disruption to industry.
    Pensioners, access to services, closures, utilisation of technology, personal stories of how services have changed, level customer service, flow on effects in the future, outsourcing overseas,
  • Utilities, electricity generation and distribution, power prices, customer service, support, emergency reaction times, skilled and qualified workers,
  • Community, heritage assets, land holdings, intergenerational equity, removal of prison educators, teaching aids, Teachers and support staff, frontline emergency services, registered nurses in aged care facilities, public sector wage policies are they good for quality staff, training opportunities.

What can you do?

Don’t expect that people have an automatic understanding of privatisation and the effects on our day to day lives let alone the lives of our children in the future. When talking with workers about what services they are not happy with, the conversation always comeback to privatisation, equitable access to quality services and tax justice across all Australians including the 1000’s of corporations that pay little to no tax. It’s important for your future to ensure that there is a equitable balance of private versus public that favours quality services.

Anyone can assist by:

  • making a written submission,
  • attend the public’s inquiry,
  • Contact us or your Union.

for more info: Public Services International or Facebook Public Inquiry

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Baird Attacks the Public Service again with new Redundancy 'Amendments'

NSW State Government's New "Amendment" to Undermine Public Service Redundancies 

Since the NSW Liberal government came to power, the public service has been under attack. Many public industries have been privatised and cuts to government jobs have been ceaseless. Now, Premier Baird's privatisation scheme is set to continue with a new 'amendment' to undermine the redundancy payments to government workers.

In late June 2016, the NSW Liberal government put forward an amendment to the Government Sector Employment Regulation 2014 that denies redundancy payments to government workers offered employment in the private sector. The amendment has been labelled a cheap attempt to further privatise NSW's public services.

If passed, the new amendment will strip public workers of any bargaining power that they currently hold. Without a redundancy package upon refusing private employment, government workers cannot insist that their jobs remain government-owned as this stance would lead to severe financial repercussions.

The proposed amendment Government Sector Employment Amendment (Transfers to Non-Government Sector) Regulation 2016 [NSW] states that it will not pay redundancy to workers offered "comparable employment by the non-government sector body that is comparable with the person’s employment as a government sector employee." This will limit the ability of workers to remain employed by public works, and will undermine the value of government bodies.

The terminology of Baird's new measure could also spark increases in industrial conflict because the word "comparable" is highly subjective. The Fair Work Commission already grapples over similarly vague terms. The Oxford dictionary defines the word "comparable" as being "similar, close, near, approximate, akin, equivalent." Such a term is problematic because it fails to specify what makes one job "comparable" to another.

Most private sector jobs are not "comparable" to those seen in the public sector; even if some offer "comparable" pay packages. For example, scientists and cultural workers employed by government agencies usually perform work that is missing from the private sector because the purpose of both sectors is different. The private sector ultimately aims to make a profit, whilst public sector positions often serve a social, cultural or environmental role. If these government positions became 'redundant', it would be impossible for such workers to find employment that was similar -- or "comparable" -- to the roles they previously performed.

Response from Unions

The Union community have been united in their outrage over the new amendment. Unions NSW states that the Government Sector Employment Regulation amendment stands in conflict with the NSW Government's "Managing Excess Employees Policy." Many industry-based Unions have expressed similar concerns over the 'amendment.' Anne Gardiner, the General Secretary of the Public Service Association (PSA), says the regulation was being "put through so the government can privatise public services and do it cheaply."

Other Unions such as the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Energy Union (CMFEU) represent workers that will be impacted. The CMFEU represents 115 public works employees; some of which have been employed in public works for 30 years. These workers are now threatened with the privatisation of their jobs. Rita Mallia, the NSW President of the CFMEU says they are effectively "being told their jobs are gone and they have to apply for whatever jobs are available in the private sector. But there is no redundancy payment available to them if they choose not to do that" (see: SMH). In many ways, the Baird 'amendment' is a form of blackmail that forces workers to comply with the outsourcing of public industries or face a future without redundancy payments.

Unions NSW is adamant that the new amendment can be stopped. For this to happen, The Upper House of NSW Parliament must pass a 'disallowance motion.' This involves lobbying political parties to block Baird's amendment. The Labor Party, as well as the Shooters and Fishers Party have come forward to offer their support for a motion of disallowance. However, the Union Movement still requires more political parties to stop the measure.

Hunter Workers commends the work of Unions NSW in standing against the new amendment. In solidarity, all of those in The Labour Movement can fight this attack on public workers and their industries.

Premier of NSW, Mike Baird

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Hunter Workers meets Jordan Shanks!

Hunter Workers meets Jordan Shanks from Friendlyjordies.

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Knocking for a Better Future

This Election....
'Put the Liberals Last'

Last Saturday, Hunter Workers was busy door-knocking throughout the seat of Paterson. With the help of our volunteers, we visited hundreds of homes in East Maitland, Beresfield, Medowie, and Kurri Kurri. Our conversations focused on the need to “Put the Liberals Last” in the upcoming Federal election.

The local community showed tremendous support for our team's message. Throughout the day, our Unionists highlighted the issues that matter to most Australians.

Key talking points included:

- Funding for Medicare and Education
- The need to support Penalty Rates
- Job Security; and
- Your Rights at Work

The day was a success. In Kurri Kurri alone, the Hunter Workers team held 96 conversations. Over 70 of these locals agreed to “Put the Libs Last.” In Beresfield, support was even more striking with 85 per cent of residents committed to “Putting the Liberals Last."

Above: Residents from Kurri Kurri.

Above: Keith from Medowie also signs the pledge.

Above: Colleen from Medowie signs the pledge to "Put the Liberals Last."

Thank You to our Volunteers

Hunter Workers is grateful to our wonderful group of volunteers that displayed such passion and determination on the day.


Above: Volunteers in Kurri Kurri (top) and Medowie (bottom)

These activists canvassed the issues clearly and articulately. Due to these Unionists efforts, Saturday's event began the political dialogue regarding this important election.

Thank you all for your attendance and commitment.

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Amnesty Newcastle - Human Rights Trivia Night

Amnesty Internation Newcastle is hosting a FREE Trivia night

Bring your human rights knowledge for a fun night of FREE trivia at Vinyl cafe!

Thursday 5th May, 6.30pm
Vinyl Coffee House
4 Perkins St, Newcastle

Teams will consist of 6 people - bring your friends or form a team on the night with new friends.

There will be lucky door prizes and surprises for our winners!

Optional hot beverages and dinner are available for purchase at the cafe.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Hosted by Newcastle Amnesty

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