Attendees of the Queensland Council of Unions’ state election campaign launch at Coco Brew on Wednesday evening.
Attendees of the Queensland Council of Unions’ state election campaign launch at Coco Brew on Wednesday evening.

Unions advocate worker-focused recovery in CQ

SIXTY workers, the coronavirus capacity, gathered at Coco Brew in Rockhampton last night for the Queensland Council of Unions' state election campaign launch.

Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford said people from several unions attended, including the Nurses and Midwives' Union, Teachers' Union, National Tertiary Education Union, Electrical Trades Union, Together Union, United Workers Union, Services Union, Rail, Tram, and Bus Union, and the CFMEU.

He said attendees' concerns were many, but were chiefly about the need for secure jobs and a government-led, worker-focused economic recovery.

"The question on our minds is whether they are jobs that people can rely on," Mr Clifford said.

"Whether they are jobs that give people certainty and help them plan their lives.

"Then they can more readily participate in the local economy, and that helps everybody."

The council does not give union members how-to-vote cards or tell them directly for whom they should vote, but asks that people "consider the track record of the party".

"In that respect," Mr Clifford said, "we don't trust the LNP to deliver secure jobs and to deliver us a plan around secure jobs that'll see us recover from the pandemic."

Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford.
Queensland Council of Unions general secretary Michael Clifford.

He gave two reasons for his position: first, "that their track record is one of cutting jobs"; second, that the last LNP government "attacked" workers' rights.

"Last night we heard from people who are still bearing the scars of the actions of the LNP last time they were in government," Mr Clifford said.

"They talked about the mental anguish for themselves and their friends and their families, and they talked about the impact on the local Rockhampton community.

"It is part of their DNA to attack workers' conditions and create more uncertainty."

Yesterday, LNP Leader Deb Frecklington responded to some of Mr Clifford's claims, saying that in power, she would "create more local high paying jobs, supercharge the regions and boost the resources sector".

"The LNP supported wage theft laws and will not be repealing them," she said.

"There will be no new taxes and no forced redundancies under an LNP Government."

But Mr Clifford bridled at what he thought was a suspicious word - 'forced'.

"That indicates there will be redundancies," he said. "It's exactly what they said last time.

"That's still going to impact on the local community, because that's jobs gone in the local community.

"What the LNP forgets … is that you need workers to create security to be able to participate the local economy.

"Workers are critical; decent wages and decent conditions are critical."

There are 25 unions affiliated with the QCU.



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