Last week, Sally McManus, a unionist from the ranks of the Australian Services Union, officially took on the role of ACTU Secretary and ever since, we’ve barely had a moment to sit back to celebrate the fact. Sally has made a running start to the job of leading the Australian union movement alongside ACTU President Ged Kearney, and supporters all over the country have made their approval loud and unmistakeable.
Her first day on 15 March began with the ACTU Executive's vote to confirm her election, followed soon after with a live message to Australians via social media and it concluded with her first interview on ABC’s 7.30 program. Within less than 24 hours, Sally left no one in any doubt about what she hopes to do, what she believes in and how hard she will fight for it.
The ASU is incredibly proud to be the Union where Sally began her efforts on behalf of workers two decades ago. Culminating in her leadership of the NSW & ACT (Services) Branch, Sally has strived for the welfare of workers in a wide variety of sectors, from those traditionally referred to as blue and white collar, from male dominated to female dominated industries, from cities, to regions, to rural areas.
We know Sally is equipped to deal with the full range of challenges in front of her because in her 20+ years with the ASU, she has always risen to a challenge.
Congratulations Sally, we’re with you and we’re #ProudToBeUnion beside you!
Sally McManus Elected Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
15 March 2017 - ACTU Media Release
The Australian Council of Trade Unions’ (ACTU) Executive has elected Sally McManus as the new Secretary.
Sally is the 10th elected ACTU Secretary in the organisation’s 90-year history and the first woman to hold the prestigious position. She fills the role vacated by former Secretary Dave Oliver, who left the ACTU in January. Sally was previously an ACTU vice president.
Quotes attributable to ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:
>> Click on the image to watch Sally's first address via Facebook
“I am extremely proud and excited about the future but there are significant challenges facing working Australians that must be counterattacked.”
“My message today to all Australian workers: Join a union.”
“We are living through a time when corporations and the very rich have become far too powerful and this has happened so quickly that our laws and rights that keep things in balance have not kept up. Australians are less secure in their work and rights for working people are just not strong enough. The penalty rates decision makes this fact unavoidable for our political leaders, and those who ignore that will do so to their detriment.”
“So my first challenge is to stop the attack on Australian workers through penalty rate cuts. Workers, in their unions, will fight until this unfair decision is reversed by the Government, no matter how long it takes, so that no worker can ever be worse off by a Fair Work Commission decision again.”
“I am committed to ensuring the living standards of working Australians are the best in the world and we are no longer beholden to the power of big corporations. The balance of power must be shifted so all Australian workers can share in the prosperity of this great country.”
“My mission in this role will be to fight for working people to have strong rights at work. We have strength in numbers and I am asking all Australians to join your union and build a better future.”
Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:
“Sally has a passionate and untiring commitment to working people and has earnt a reputation for leadership, vision and a profound understanding of the industrial, social and economic issues facing Australia and its workers.”
“The election of the first woman as ACTU secretary is historic for our organisation and for the union movement. Her election signifies a commitment to and a shift towards true diversity and gender equity.”
“We warmly welcome Sally to the role of Secretary and look forward to her leading the fight to protect and expand the rights of working people in this country at a time when corporate power threatens to undermine all we have fought for.”
Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Scott Connolly:
“Sally has been relentless in pursuit of those who seek to take rights away from working people in her role as head of campaigns, I am sure she will bring that uncompromising attitude to bear as Secretary.”
Quotes attributable to ACTU Assistant Secretary Michael Borowick:
“Sally’s track record of putting members first and being a passionate advocate for the rights of working people is a gold standard for all union officials.”
Media contact: Peter Green 0400 764 200 or ACTU Media 03 9664 7315
Statement from Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus
16 March 2017 - Statement from Australian Council of Trade Unions Secretary Sally McManus
>> Click on the image to watch Sally's interview on ABC 7.30 program via Facebook
Every single Australian benefits from superannuation, Medicare, the weekend and minimum wages —these were all won by our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents taking non-violent so-called illegal industrial action.
Working people only take these measures when the issue is one of justice, like ensuring workers’ safety on worksites, a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work or to uphold and improve rights for working people.
Without the Australian union movement our country would look like the US, where these types of rights are inadequate or don’t exist.
There is rampant lawlessness in the workplaces of Australia and this is occurring in the form of chronic underpayments of workers, exploitation of visa workers and workplace practices that put the safety and lives of people at risk. Unfortunately this is no longer on the fringes of our economy; it is now a business model for some corporations. This is what our Government should be focusing on.
Australian Unions are committed to changing the laws at work because they are no longer strong enough to guarantee and protect workers’ rights. We will do so through advocating changes to the laws and rules that govern the workplace.
Media contact: ACTU Media 03 9664 7315 or Antonia Acott 0419 793 885