Published: 30/03/2020

The IUF-affiliated United Workers Union (UWU) is promoting an action program for the COVID-19 crisis and beyond which stresses the need for comprehensive social protection and public investment and ownership of key economic sectors. The status quo is not only untenable, says the union: “Moments of rupture create space and impetus for change.”

Key action points call on the government to guarantee wages and continued employment for all workers: “A Jobs Guarantee must be upheld by all employers and backed by a 100% Federal Government wage subsidy. No worker should be dismissed or retrenched as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This includes all workers: casuals, labour hire, freelancers, contractors and gig workers irrespective of citizenship, visa or non-visa status”, for the duration of the crisis.

All those without work before the crisis are to receive an unconditional cash payment of AUD 780 per week (ca. USD 480). Additionally, the union calls for a moratorium on rent and mortgage payments and raising the tax threshold for low earners.

“Don’t bailout essential sectors-buy them. Bring public goods back into public ownership”, including at a minimum health and care, energy, early education, telecommunications, transport and logistics. Workers and consumers must be integrated into the management of these public utilities.

The action program calls for an investment stimulus to match the scale of the crisis. Alongside social spending this should focus particularly on large-scale investment in renewable energy infrastructure.

The union also demands a visa amnesty for migrant workers, and end to visa enforcement and detention activity, and guaranteed access to medical care for all, including visa holders and undocumented workers.

CLICK HERE to read and download the action program