Sally McManus hears issues from Rockhampton union members
ABOUT 150 local union members gathered at the Rockhampton Jockey Club this afternoon to discuss plans to win better workers' rights to ensure fair pay rises and more secure jobs.
The club was a sea of hi-vis vests as teachers, nurses, community workers, council workers, railway workers and more attended the first election year event, hosted by ACTU secretary Sally McManus and QCU general secretary Ros McLennan.
Ms McManus said this was a chance for union members to get together and talk about the issues most affecting them.
"I have already had a bit of a chat to them and it is all the same, issues about insecure work and low pay increases,” she said.
"Our wages have not gone up and they are not going up for working people. When you talk to people in regional communities it is worse.
"It is hurting families because they are either cutting into their savings or just not doing the nice things they used to do before.
"People's living standards are going backwards.
"The sense I am getting, especially in regional Queensland, is people feel like we are losing the fair go and want to fight for the fair go.”
Looking forward to the meeting, she expected the biggest issue facing Central Queenslanders was going to be low pay rises.
"There is still high unemployment here and the people in jobs aren't getting pay rises,” she said.
"And because people in jobs aren't getting pay rises, it is actually making the unemployment worse because people aren't spending as much money on small businesses, who then aren't hiring people.
"I would be very surprised if that is not the main issue.”
After speaking with a few locals, Ms McManus said people in Rockhampton were feeling heartened that possible change is coming.
"They are feeling they are part of this movement of people that have hope we can do better in our country and don't have to put up with their kids having no job security, unable to buy a house and all those basic things.
"They are saying we have had enough and we can actually do something about it.”
Ms McManus sat down for a lengthy discussion with The Morning Bulletin earlier today to discuss some of the key challenges currently faced by CQ's workers.
These stories will be rolled out over the next week.