Your Rights at Work


South Australian Unions will be protesting in Adelaide today over the Federal Liberal Government’s lack of commitment to our subs and its moves to offshore Australian maritime jobs.

SA Unions Secretary, Joe Szakacs (pron sock-arch) says not only is the government encouraging the offshoring of Australian seafaring jobs, but its position on submarines and ships is putting at risk thousands of jobs.

“What we are seeing is death by a thousand cuts in our waters. Hundreds of South Australians have already lost their manufacturing jobs on the subs and war ships, and now we are seeing the whole Australian shipping industry under threat.”

Maritime Union Secretary, Jamie Newlyn says there are people living in the Federal seat of Hindmarsh who work on Australian ships and whose jobs are at risk because of the actions of the Turnbull Government in supporting the offshoring of seafaring jobs.

“The entire Australian merchant marine fleet of more than two thousand workers is at risk because of the push by huge corporations like Shell, Rio Tinto and Chevron to offshore jobs.

“We have seen it in Victoria with the MV Portland, whose Australian crew were sacked and replaced with exploited and poorly-paid foreign workers. We don’t want to see more “ships of shame” in our waters – we want fair and secure jobs that pay decent wages. We want jobs in seats like Hindmarsh, not the offshoring of thousands of jobs.”

Mr Szakacs said the union movement is calling on every Federal MP and Senator to sign a pledge to put a stop to this outrageous situation. The pledge – “I’m Backing Australian Jobs” – calls on each member to support local jobs and fight for local job creation projects.

SA Unions Secretary, Joe Szakacs says the Member for Hindmarsh Matt Williams has to prove to South Australian working people that he will stand up for local jobs.

“We want to see him sign a pledge to prove that he will fight for locally-built submarines and ships, oppose Free Trade Agreements that sell out local workers, and stand up for penalty rates, which help South Australian workers put food on the table. Mr Williams keeps putting local jobs last and unless this changes that’s where voters should put him on the ballot paper on election day.”


SA Unions says the State Government must now move to extend the protection won by injured police officers to all workers in South Australia.

Secretary Joe Szakacs, (pron: sock-arch) said the union movement always believed the two year cut off period was a blunt instrument, and that the reduction of entitlements in the new Return to Work Act had gone too far and too deep.

“What we want to see now is this provision extended to all workers because each industry has its own unique risks.”

“We are pleased to see our colleagues in SAPOL achieve these improvements through enterprise bargaining, and the commitment from the Labor Government to reach the same outcomes with other public sector workers.”

“However, it’s not just police who face higher risks on the job, but nurses, ambulance officers and firefighters do, too.”

“The idea that only public sector workers face these risks is unfair and unjust – in fact workers in the private sector suffer that same tragedy and disruption from workplace injuries, while working in the most dangerous industries in our country.”

“We believe emergency service workers deserve the same protection as those workers building the new RAH, or an orderly or security guard working in our hospitals.”

“Or a transport worker pushed to their limits by the big supermarkets, a worker at a drive-through bottle shop or petrol station who faces the constant threat of an armed robbery, or people in social and community services that often work with clients with sever additions and violent behaviour.”

“We know that people in construction, transport, agriculture and aged care have the highest rates of physical injuries, including dozens of workplace deaths per year.”

Mr Szakacs said that in acknowledging this outcome for police officers, the State Government must act without delay in recognising the devastation that these types of workplace injuries case workers and their families, and amend the Return to Work Act for the benefit of all South Australian working people.


SA Unions is calling on the University of Adelaide to commit to Radio Adelaide’s future.

State Secretary, Joe Szakacs (pron sock-arch) says the station has for many years been an important training ground for young media professionals.

“Radio Adelaide has given thousands of ordinary South Australians the opportunity to tell their stories.”

“From workers to innovators and entrepreneurs, from musicians to writers, from academics to students, Radio Adelaide presents real stories from real people.”

“With the major media outlets shrinking – and the worrying loss of jobs and independence in the mainstream media – it’s more important than ever to have this independent voice on our airwaves.”

“The last thing we need in South Australia is to lose more jobs. We call on the University to commit to Radio Adelaide’s ongoing operations and new premises.”

“Surely within a budget the size of the University’s, this is not too much to ask.”


SA Unions says the hotly-debated China Australia Free Trade Agreement will be a disaster for local jobs if it goes ahead.

State Secretary, Joe Szakacs says there are fears that the agreement could result in the loss of up to 158,000 jobs nationally – and that number could rise if the Turnbull Government concludes similar deals with India and the US.

“Under this proposed agreement, any requirement that employers have to offer jobs to locals first will be removed.”

“Any Chinese company with a project over $150m won’t have to offer jobs to locals first.”

“They will be able to bring in lower-skilled overseas workers with lower-level language skills and pay them lower wages than are currently allowed under the standard visa program.”

“Not only will the agreement rip jobs away from locals, but it will rip-off foreign workers, some of whom already have some of the world’s worst working conditions.”

Mr Szakacs says the issue will be debated tonight at the community forum, which will feature SA Senator Penny Wong, National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Andrew Dettmer, and local Maritime Union member Matt Burnell.

“We’ve seen this kind of thing happening in our ports – moves to bring in lower paid foreign crews are already having an enormous impact on local jobs.”

“Unions are calling on the Federal Government to abandon these anti-worker provisions and stand up for Australian jobs.”