New ACTU leader gives a Gonski

New ACTU Secretary Sally McManus gave her support for the campaign to secure six years of the Gonski needs-based schools funding model when she addressed Federation’s March Council meeting this morning.

Ms McManus joined Federation Councillors in raising their hands in support of the Gonski campaign, as they clutched copies of the second compilation of Gonski success stories, showing what has been achieved with only 18 per cent of Gonski transition funding.

The new leader of the ACTU said her interest in activism started when one of her teachers was sacked during the period when Terry Metherell was education minister. She joined the historic August 1988 rally in the Domain, opposing the cutting of 2000 teaching positions.

Ms McManus made reference to the Fair Work Commission’s decision to strip away Sunday and public holiday penalty rates.

Federation has issued a statement condemning the Fair Work Commission’s decision and deploring the Turnbull Government’s outspoken support of the decision:

  • The statement notes the decision will result in a significant pay cut for potentially millions of the nation’s low-paid workers, including:
  • student members of the Federation who are working in retail, hospitality and pharmacy to support themselves financially while completing their university studies
  • casual teacher members who rely on work in other industries due to the precarious nature of their casual Department of Education work
  • the thousands of school students who are employed in these industries, after-school and on weekends.

“The Commission’s decision is both unfair and unwise, and stems from an ideology that says the supposed needs of business must always triumph over the interests of workers. This decision is the latest attack on Australia’s least powerful and most vulnerable workers. The Federation resolves to campaign with and support other union members across Australia to stop this pay cut and protect penalty rates now and into the future,” the statement concludes.

Ms McManus joined Federation Councillors beside a Gonski bus parked in a nearby Surry Hills street following her speech, to raise a cheer for the success of the Gonski bus tour so far.

In recent weeks the bus tour has been raising publicity for the Gonski needs-based funding campaign in NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. Two buses will converge on Parliament House, Canberra on Wednesday for a big media event.