Welcome to the Meatworkers Union

Laurie Burley a Colossus of Union Organising

On the morning of 16 November 2014 Laurie Burley passed away after fighting cancer for the last year. He will be sadly missed by our Union, and particularly the meatworkers in the retail sector.

Since 1989 Laurie was an Organiser with the AMIEU. On behalf of meatworkers in the retail sector he pursued every issue with fearless, unrelenting tenacity until an acceptable conclusion was reached. Laurie would persevere when others would either not have started or otherwise would have long given up.

Laurie has been an inspiration. At the end of 2011 he retired from full time organising to spend time with his wife, Cathie and his family. Even after that he has been only a phone call away for the young retail organisers to ask for detail on struggles.

We offer Cathie, his children Kris, Nick, Pamela and Natalie, his family and all his other friends our sincere condolences.

Funeral details - click here

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When you see the streets of Melbourne overflowing with workers, you're looking at a unionist who decided to show up. They had to pick their kids up early, or travel from regional Victoria, or find the courage to get their boss to change their shift.

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The absolute fact is that the AMIEU has steadfastly and resolutely rejected such a proposal.  Any inference to the contrary is an absolute lie!

All Coles employees should check out the Coles Store News

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Meatworkers have enjoyed a history and a culture of unionism

This has been built over many years and has continued from generation to generation. Work in meatworks and associated workplaces has always been physically hard, dangerous and skilful. Without the strength of organized labour it would undoubtedly be more dangerous and have stayed poorly paid as well.
Most of the conditions and wages many now enjoy were the result of the unity and industrial action (strikes etc) of workers over many years before them. All the major sheds through the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties were one hundred percent unionised and were therefore able to put up a united front against powerful employers who would otherwise have exploited them. In Victoria particularly, the AMIEU led the way in the establishment of industrial awards, which many now take for granted. Things like equal pay for women, long service leave, Superannuation, redundancy, annual leave, sick leave and public holidays were established and developed by the union, backed up with united industrial pressure.