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26 Nov, 2013

Australian Unions vote to seek leave for workers who experience domestic violence


25 November, 2013, Media Release – White Ribbon Ambassador and ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said Australian Unions will support a special resolution at the ACTU Executive on Tuesday for paid domestic violence leave to be included as a minimum entitlement in the 2014 modern award review.

“Australia is already leading the world with over 1.2 million workers benefiting from access to leave should they be unfortunate enough to experience domestic violence. We think this should be extended to protect many more workers,” Mr Oliver said.

Click here for Flyer – Stop Gender Based Violence at work! Support an ILO Convention!

“The most recent ABS Personal Safety Survey found that over 17 per cent of Australian women had experienced physical or sexual violence from a previous or current partner and that around 60 per cent of them were in paid employment.

“Victims of domestic violence are often vulnerable, traumatised and left with little support. The last thing they need is to risk losing their jobs.

“Maintaining paid work and independence is crucial for people trying to escape the cycle of family violence, and these protections recognise this  “Many workplaces already have paid domestic violence leave in their enterprise agreements.

“This is a positive sign of the growing awareness of domestic violence and its effects on the community. White Ribbon Day is about men talking to men and saying it’s not okay to be abusive and I’m proud to be a part of that. I will be adding my voice to the call to never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women.”

Mr Oliver said family violence leave provisions provide additional paid leave for employees experiencing family violence, as well as flexible work arrangements if necessary. They must also ensure confidentiality of employee details, and that employees who have experienced family violence are not discriminated against.

“Unions have a proud history of showing leadership in the campaign to eliminate violence against women and children. This is a problem that needs a united effort from everyone in society, and that includes unions and employers,” Mr Oliver said.

Unions around Australia are participating in White Ribbon Day events to generate greater awareness and adoption of workplace initiatives to support cultural changes aimed at eliminating family and domestic violence.

Australian construction workers launch campaign to curb violence against women

15 Oct 2013 – Australia’s Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) today launched a campaign to curb violence against women. The campaign called: Real men don’t abuse women aims to spread the message that violence against women is unacceptable and to encourage more men to speak out against it.

The campaign will be launched at the union’s National Conference following an address by MUA Assistant Secretary and White Ribbon Ambassador, Mick Doleman.

CFMEU National Construction Secretary Dave Noonan said the union has been considering for some time how to play a role in addressing a major social and health problem in our community.

“There are far reaching effects of family violence on women, children and families in general,” said Mr Noonan.

“As a union with a large percentage of male members, we are in a unique position to communicate with men and we feel that we have a responsibility to stand up and speak out on this issue. Most men do not commit violence against women, but more of us need to speak out and stop the silence around this issue.

“Research shows that there is a link between violence and negative attitudes to women and relationships so we want our members to show leadership and stand up for what’s right.”

Victorian Secretary John Setka, who will move the motion at Conference, said violence against women would only be stamped out, when men worked with women to oppose abuse and violence wherever they encountered it.

“It’s not enough for us to say ‘that’s not my problem.’ It’s a problem that affects every pocket of society: the rich, the poor, the educated, the famous and every ethnic background.”

Mr Noonan said that CFMEU delegates and OHS reps are already well trained to assist members with non-work related problems.

“For a number of years now, we have been proactive in getting men to talk to each other on site. We are not advocates of men’s silence on important issues that affect their health, their well-being and their family life.”

Conference motion seconder, WA Secretary Mick Buchan said the CFMEU was not simply paying lip service to this issue.

“We want the message to go out on every work site and reach every worker.”