As workers around the world gather to mark International Workers’ Day on May 1, Electrical Trades Union national secretary Allen Hicks congratulated the Queensland branch of the union on their centenary.
“For a century the Queensland Electrical Trades Union has fought for and defended the rights of working people in Queensland and the Northern Territory,” he said.
“I am honoured and humbled to be a part of that history.”
Mr Hicks will celebrate the branch’s milestone in Brisbane at the May Day march on Sunday.
May Day, or international workers’ day, has been observed on May 1 for nearly 130 years.
“This weekend is a time for the workers and their families in Queensland and the rest of Australia to pause and appreciate the fruits of union progress,” Mr Hicks said.
“From basic provisions like an eight-hour working day, to more recent advances like superannuation, the conditions that Australian workers enjoy have been hard-won.”
Mr Hicks called on workers to fight federal government plans to erode these conditions.
“This government wants to take away what Australian workers have rightfully earned,” he said.
“We can see that in the Productivity Commission review of workplace conditions.
“They want to remove basic provision of fairness in the workplace, and it’s something we won’t allow to happen.”
Mr Hicks also spoke in support of the rallies taking place around the country protesting the forced closure of Aboriginal communities on Friday May 1.
“The rights of the first peoples of this country are being unfairly and viciously attacked by the Abbott Government.
“I encourage all ETU members to take a stand against this injustice.”
May Day commemorates an 1886 protest by striking workers in Chicago and across the United States demanding an eight-hour workday – an advancement first won by some Australian workers thirty years earlier. It is also a public holiday in many nations around the world.