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Campaign to progress women in manufacturing

09-02-2010
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The AMWU is launching a campaign to assist women with career progression in the manufacturing industry.

A two-day women's conference held in Brisbane late last month, attended by 44 women delegates, activists and members, indentified a lack of career opportunities as a priority issue for women workers.

Industrial Officer Katelyn Allen said that as more women join the union and become active, different issues are being raised that the union must take on board.

"Our members are saying it's not just about equal pay and paid maternity leave. They want the same opportunities that the men get to advance their skills in their workplace."

National Secretary Dave Oliver who opened the conference said that the issue of opportunity and recognition was a key issue for many members, and a focus on helping women get better outcomes was an important campaign for the union.

"This is a really important issue and a great example of the kind of practical target that the union can make a difference on through collective bargaining."

"We know that when we achieve things for members, we build credibility with them. Career progression and proper recognition is both a bargaining opportunity and a recruitment opportunity."

Attendees of the conference, which brought women together from a range of workplaces from all over Queensland and the Northern Territory, heard that many women had increased self-esteem and job satisfaction as a result of their involvement in the AMWU.

Ms Allen said that every participant walked away with an 'activist plan' in which they had mapped out what they would like to do and what help they would need from the union to do it.

"It might be that they want to learn more about how the union works, they might need to attend union education courses, they may want to recruit all the women in their workplace, they may simply need more one on one with their organiser. We are committed to backing them in whatever they ask for."

Leanna Howard who came to the conference from the Northern Territory described it as an eye-opening experience.

"It was great to see the wide range of jobs represented and the stories we all shared about how we're treated. I really enjoyed it."

"I came away with a sense of camaraderie and more knowledge of the union and what it does."

"I feel that I'm not alone."

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