Anna Stewart, long-time campaigner for women’s rights and prominent union official, died in April 1983 and the Anna Stewart Memorial Project was established as an annual work experience program aimed at increasing women’s active union involvement. Participants learn about how unions work and get training in a supportive environment on key aspects of union organising and growth with a focus on women’s involvement and why unions are so critical for women.
SHOULD YOU APPLY? If you’re a union Member and want to develop your skills and knowledge, make an important contribution to the development and growth of your union and have more involvement in the union movement more broadly then the answer is YES!
The program runs for five days from September 25-29 2017.
The Unions Tasmania Women's Committee celebrated another busy and successful year with committee members and friends. The Women's Committee would like to thank all those who were involved in our various events in 2014 and wish you all a very happy and safe Christmas and look forward to working with you in 2015.
ON Sunday the Coalition notched up its first 12 months in government.
Let’s take out the political spin and election promises – what has the Abbott Government done for women in its first year?
1. Massive cuts to education, health and community services which employ and support women
Sixty per cent of public servants are women who stand to lose their jobs under the government’s severe job cuts.
Cuts to social assistance and services will reduce support for women to participate in the workforce and enjoy a better quality of life.
2. No extra funding for childcare and freezing the childcare rebate
The cost of childcare directly affects women’s capacity to afford to go back to work. Australia spends less than half of the average OECD country spending on childcare.
Freezing the childcare rebate will make it simply unaffordable for many women to return to work.
3. Cutting off family benefits when children reach school age at the same time as ripping out funding for Out of School Hours Care and funding 4-year-old kindergarten for only one more year
We all know caring responsibilities for children don’t stop once they reach school age. Without adequate pre-school and out of school hour’s care, many women simply can’t work.
4. Cuts to single parent and family tax benefits
A single-income couple with two school-age children and average earnings will lose up to $4250 per year.
Single parenting payments will be reduced and unlikely to keep up with real increases in the cost of living.
5. Amendments to the Fair Work Act which will allow employers to pay women less if they need to access famil- friendly work arrangements
The government wants employers to be able to trade employee’s wages and conditions for ‘non-financial benefits’, which includes the employee’s need to work family friendly hours.
If the government is successful in voting this legislation through, the gender pay gap between men and women, who are still mostly responsible for caring for family members, will widen even further than its current 20 year record high.
6. Axing the Low Income Superannuation Contribution scheme
The government’s axing of the scheme has reduced retirement savings for 1 in 2 (over 2 million) working women by up to $27,000.
Low income earners (2/3 of whom are women) now pay more tax on their superannuation savings than they do on their income. Wealthy Australians on the other hand enjoy a 35% tax break on their super savings.
7. Watering down the Workplace Gender Equality legislation to lower employers reporting requirements on equal opportunity for women in their workplaces
The government has proposed to reduce the number of employers who are required to report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, the information they are required to report on and to water down the minimum standards required of all employers to ensure women are treated equally in the workplace.
8. Increases to higher education fees
Whilst the higher fees and interest charged will see on average men taking 15 years to pay off their debts, because of their childrearing and broken employment history, under the Coalition proposal, women will take on average 26 years to pay off their university fees.
9. No new paid parental leave scheme
There are serious questions as to whether the Coalition will deliver its proposed paid parental leave scheme. The ONLY Coalition policy which was clearly designed to support women has been put on hold indefinitely.
10. No Women’s Budget Statement for the first time in 30 years
In 2014 this practice ceased without explanation from the Government.
Unions are working hard to campaign against these proposals and we need a strong voice for women.
In the next few weeks the government’s Fair Work Amendment Bill will be debated. We need to continue to campaign against further disadvantaging working women by forcing them to trade off wages and conditions for family friendly working hours.
Currently, the Fair Work Act provides parents with a ‘right to request’ a change in working hours, but with no obligation on employers to reasonably accommodate the request and no right for parents to appeal an unreasonable refusal of their request.
The government should be looking to remedy these deficiencies rather than propose amendments which will leave women with family responsibilities worse off.
Women make up half the workforce and half the voting population – we need to stand up for a better deal.