Skip to content Skip to footer

Member workshop: Workplace consultation and change

Changes in the workplace are occurring all the time. Whether it be rosters and hours, work location, roles and duties, or even termination.

What obligation does your employer have to consult with workers? What rights do you have when changes will impact your ability to do your job?

Register now to find out the answers to these questions and more from UWU Industrial Officer, Claire Gray-Starcevic. 

This session will be held on Monday 19 February at 6pm and 8pm (AEDT).

Member workshops are open to all UWU members. If you can’t make it, but would like to watch the recording, register now and you’ll be able to watch the recording at a time that suits you. You can also access recordings of previous workshops.


Twelve United Workers Union women are taking produce giant, Perfection Fresh, to the Federal Court of Australia with serious allegations of sexual harassment under the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth). 

There are 11 women that travel to work in Australia from Vanuatu and one woman who lives permanently in South Australia, all who worked picking and packing fruit and vegetables in the largest glasshouse of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, located in Two Wells, 50km north of Adelaide. 

Perfection Fresh is one of the country’s largest fruit and vegetable growers, with multiple farms across Australia. The Two Wells tomato glasshouse in South Australia is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. The workers employed at Perfection Fresh supply the major supermarkets, Coles and Woolworths, with popular produce including tomatoes and mini cucumbers.
The perfection twelve want to see all 10,000 workers in Perfection Fresh’s supply chain have job security, access to the United Workers Union when they start work and throughout their time at work, and for their leaders to be able to speak out without retaliation on union issues.

Their claim details that the sexual harassment was carried out by two men in supervisory positions at the company, and that Perfection Fresh is liable for the sexual harassment as they did not protect their workers from the sexual harassment. The claim says, 

The conduct was outrageous. It involved the abuse of power by a superior against employees who were socially, racially, and economically vulnerable.”  

The systematic exploitation of migrant workers is rampant, and these women recognise that change starts from the top, the onus is on the employer to provide a safe workplace. The women are taking a stand with their union, the United Workers Union, against the repeated sexual harassment and abuse of power.

While their identities cannot be revealed, these 12 women will not stay silent in their fight. They have turned their stories into music, recording an album which details their experience. The album, Bread and Roses | Bret Mo Roses, will be released digitally on the 6th of February 2024. 

To stay up to date with the campaign and be notified when the album is released, sign up here! 

Member spotlight: Wilma Grant

At the end of last year, our union was proud to celebrate Wilma Grant, Teacher Aide and long serving member delegate, with an honorary UWU life membership.

Joining her union in 1992 when she commenced her career as a Teacher Aide, Wilma has filled her years since fighting to improve and protect the rights of fellow education workers.

With a strong personal commitment to achieving recognition for Teacher Aides for their critical role in educating students, Wilma has been a key contributor to realising substantial wins for members, including permanent employment, salary progression, secure hours and delegate rights.

It is fair to say Wilma’s efforts over many years have transformed the working lives of Teacher Aides across the state. As Wilma moves towards retirement, it was fitting that her leadership and passion was recognised with an honorary life membership to her union.

Our union is bigger, stronger, and more united because of Wilma’s tireless contributions. Take a bow, Wilma Grant!

NSW school cleaners demand end to failed privatisation

A United Workers Union report, to be released shortly, shows NSW school cleaners are some of the lowest-paid cleaners in Australia.     

UWU member, Pooja is expected to clean an entire school by herself and has been highlighted as showing the impossible workloads facing NSW school cleaners in a report to be given to a NSW Government review of privatised cleaning contracts. 

The report contains accounts of cleaners facing insurmountable workloads then being “failed” in a heartless privatised system, while schools are not cleaned properly and large contractors bank more than $100 million in profits. 

Pooja’s experience is in line with concerns raised in the report about high workloads, resulting high injury rates, an inability to keep schools properly cleaned, low pay and ruthless behaviour by profit-focused contractors. 

The report also reveals a privatised system where cleaners, paid barely above the minimum wage, are working unpaid hours just to keep up and avoid the punitive assessments. 

Pooja is the only cleaner assigned to clean 14 classrooms, staff rooms, offices, a hall, all toilets and all outdoor areas used by about 350 school students and 40 staff in a public school in Sydney’s west. 

When assessed against NSW Government contract specifications, Pooja is expected to complete more than 600 cleaning tasks daily – or about 45 seconds a task. 

I’m the only cleaner in my school. It’s not hard, but very hard – extremely hard,” Pooja says. 

“I start at 5am and I finish at 9am. I’m supposed to start (again) at 2pm but I start one hour earlier so I can do my work, I can cope with my work. 

“I would like to tell the Government to reduce the pressure because we are bound only for two minutes in a classroom which is not enough, and after that they come and fail the school and we are in trouble again.” 

Pooja is a single mother of one who is also caring for her elderly mother. She is paid as a Level 1 cleaner at $24.07 hour – or 84 cents an hour above the minimum wage.  

The report calls for the NSW Labor Government to live up to its election promises about returning public services to the public, and end the failed privatisation of NSW school cleaning after it was introduced 30 years ago. 

Pooja’s experience is unfortunately not an isolated case. A survey of 300 school cleaners last year showed they faced average workloads of 634 tasks a day – or 43 seconds a task – when cleaning areas were assessed against NSW Government contract specifications.  

It’s time to end this failed privatisation! Show your support for the campaign by signing this petition

New member benefit - 20% off gym membership

UWU members can now access 20% off membership fees at Anytime Fitness gyms with $0 joining fee!

This equals a saving of $296.95 in first year and $197 in subsequent years.

To access this UWU member benefit, use the code Gold22 when joining online. You can find a full list of participating clubs here.

This is just one of the many benefits available to UWU members. Find even more in our member portal with information about how to access them.