Workers unite in celebration
THE prospect of another long weekend getaway did not deter hundreds of people from proudly marching in the Labour Day parade, to celebrate the rights and achievements of Australian workers.
More than 300 union members marched along Quay St on Saturday and among those was Electrical Trades Union member Aaron Keleher.
The 29-year-old said he believed workers’ unions were just as important and relevant today as they were in previous years.
“The union movement through the times has provided better conditions for workers,” Mr Keleher said.
“Without them, workers might have to regress back to negotiating conditions individually, instead of as a whole.”
The electrical fitter and mechanic for Ergon Energy said children must also be educated to stand up for their rights, when they reached working age.
“It’s important children understand what unions do now, as they will eventually become part of the workplace,” Mr Keleher said.
For Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union organiser Brad Hansen, Labour Day was also a family day.
“What the day is about is getting out with families and watching the kids enjoy themselves,” he said.
Queensland Council of Unions secretary Greg Purches said about 10 unions were involved in Saturday’s parade, including members of the National Union of Retired Workers who were there for the first time.
Leading the parade was the United Voice Union, which has had a name change from the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union.
“They have a broader membership now and they needed a name to reflect it – they held a big contingent up the front,” Mr Purches said.
He said Australians “always need to remember where we come from”.
“Unions are only one group that consistently supports working people,” Mr Purches said.
“I wouldn’t trust any government to be truly supportive of workers, the way unions do.”
He defended the place of unions in society and said there were still hundreds of workers who died as a direct result of their jobs.
“We have to be vigilant and remind employers and governments of their responsibilities,” Mr Purches said.
“Jobs of unions haven’t diminished, but they have changed their direction a little bit.”