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Another barnacle removed: Abbott government's planned cuts to legal aid services now reversed

Another barnacle removed: Abbott government's planned cuts to legal aid services now reversed

Government backs down on legal aid cuts

Attorney General George Brandis says the cuts would have impacted on the most vulnerable, including domestic violence victims and indigenous Australians.

Sweeping cuts to domestic violence and Indigenous legal services will no longer go ahead after another budget backdown from the federal government.   

Attorney-General George Brandis and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women Michaelia Cash made the announcement on Thursday after a strong backlash from voters, the legal sector and Liberal and Labor state attorneys-generals.

Candidates urged to back services

Candidates urged to back services

PLEDGE: Shoalhaven Neighbourhood Services administrator Maxine Edwards and Shoalhaven Women’s Health Centre manager Tracy Lumb watch over South Coast Labor candidate Fiona Phillips and South Coast Greens candidate Amanda Findley as they sign a pledge to continue to support and strengthen funding into the community resources.

NOWRA’S community service workers are pleading with government candidates to protect and strengthen funding. 

Broken Hill Legal Centre staff relieved by funding about-face

Broken Hill Legal Centre staff relieved by funding about-face
In far western New South Wales this evening, a group of lawyers and social workers are celebrating the Attorney-General's decision to reverse funding cuts to the community legal sector.

Four staff had resigned from the Broken Hill Community Legal Centre in the face of the cuts, and the centre was forced to shut its books to new cases.

Union and welfare agencies at war over Mike Baird's affordable housing plan

Union and welfare agencies at war over Mike Baird's affordable housing plan
The union representing community workers has attacked two key NSW welfare bodies over their support for Premier Mike Baird's pledge to create an affordable housing fund contingent on the partial privatisation of the electricity network.
The Australian Services Union has described the position of the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS) and St Vincent de Paul Society as "disgraceful".But the groups have denied they support the privatisation, and NCOSS has accused the union of "playing politics with people experiencing poverty".

War of words between unions and state government

War of words between unions and state government

Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage has condemned a Unions NSW doorknocking "scare campaign" which she says is misleading to Blue Mountains voters.

Mrs Sage said the Australian Services Union has been distributing material in the region containing "outright lies about Sydney Water".

"The NSW Government has no plans to privatise Sydney Water," said Mrs Sage.

"True to form, NSW Labor is enlisting the support of its union mates to spread lies and dupe the people of the Mountains."

However Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said the 50 local workers doorknocking in the Blue Mountains over the February 14-15 weekend "all had their own story to tell about their fears for our public assets and services" including concerns about registered nurses in aged care and also electricity privatisation.

"It's not a scare campaign, it's a truth campaign. It's just that the truth is scary."

Our new Transport Organiser

Our new Transport Organiser

In February this year I moved into the Transport Division of the ASU. I have been supporting Transport members for some years now as part of my work in the ASU Industrial Services Team and I am excited to be on board and working with members on a range of different issues across the division.

I am filling the big shoes of Peter Macphee who is still with the ASU, working in another division of the Union and the former president of the Transport Committee of Management John Maher who is looking forward to his retirement.

Qantas accused of sending more call-centre jobs overseas

Qantas accused of sending more call-centre jobs overseas

Australian-based customer service will soon be the preserve of Qantas' premium passengers

Unions have accused Qantas of sending more work offshore after the airline revealed it intends to boost the size of its call centre in Auckland by another 50 jobs.

The airline has informed the Australian Services Union, which represents call-centre workers and other ground staff, of its latest plans for the "consolidation of Australian call centres" from three to one.

Sydney Water protest outside MP's office

Sydney Water protest outside MP's office

Members of the Australian Services Union handed out bottles of water outside the office of Kiama MP Gareth Ward on Saturday, part of an action calling for the state government to rule out privatising Sydney Water.

A dozen union members spent the morning outside Mr Ward's office on Terralong Street, Kiama, in the latest leg of a campaign protesting any moves to sell off the water provider.

ASU NSW assistant secretary Ben Kruse said the union had been unsatisfied with government rhetoric around Sydney Water.

"The concern is the government won't rule out privatisation. Their response was there were 'no plans' to sell it," Mr Kruse said.

"We're calling on Gareth to say what that means. The term 'no plans' is a codeword for 'flog it off at the first opportunity'."

Qantas in job cuts deal with unions

Qantas in job cuts deal with unions

QANTAS management and union leaders have reached a settlement to end the first battle in the industrial war over 5000 job cuts.

Lawyers for the airline and the Australian Services Union told a hearing of the Fair Work Commission in Sydney today that the parties had agreed on a plan which will slow down staff reductions at Sydney airport’s international terminal.

Qantas starts process of shedding jobs as ASU calls for urgent intervention from Fair Work Australia

Qantas starts process of shedding jobs as ASU calls for urgent intervention from Fair Work Australia

Up to 4000 Qantas staff will be given until the end of the month to accept a redundancy package, with unions describing the process as rushed and chaotic.

Australian Services Union NSW branch secretary Sally McManus said Qantas was planning to issue at least 4000 staff with expressions of interest in redundancy on Thursday.

Redundancy process starts: Unions claim offers are "rushed and chaotic".

She said a deadline of March 21 had been set for employees at Sydney International Airport and for the end of the month for other employees.

She said this was "incredibly rushed and chaotic".

"It's an incredibly short time frame," she said.

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