May 2017 Melbourne Update – a month of international solidarity
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA had a busy month commencing with participation in the Multicultural Day and Wreath laying ceremony in the lead up to a magnificent May Day. We were joined in the May Day March by the fantastic Sister Teng Rany, Project Officer with Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA Cambodia. Rany hit the ground running connecting with APHEDA supporters and unionists wherever she went. On May Day, Rany had her blood pressure checked by Lisa Fitzpatrick, Secretary of the ANMF. She also ate her first hamburger cooked by former Geelong Trades Hall Secretary Tim Gooden and HACSU Assistant Secretary Paul Healey and then donned a pink hat to take photos with the Women of the MUA.
Rany was in town to participate in the Anna Stewart Memorial Project which kicked off on Monday 8 May. As part of her training Rany joined HACSU Members and Organisers for their colourful #DisabilityNotForSale rally and visited members at HACSU work-sites. During her second week Rany had the extraordinary opportunity to attend a tailored Asbestos awareness training day at the CFMEU Training & Education Unit including participation in the build of a bubble used to protect asbestos removalists from air-borne fibres with CFMEU Asbestos Trainers Mark Devereaux and Rose Nechwatal.
In addition, Rany met with an awesome crew of CFMEU Asbestos Removalists working at the Eye and Ear hospital accompanied by CFMEU OHS Officer, Peter Clark. Rany shared her experience overseeing APHEDA’s Asbestos and Working Women projects in Cambodia. The many Khmer workers on site and their comrades were so impressed with Rany and her work in Cambodia that they asked her to return on her final day in Melbourne to thank her for attending and to offer a generous gift from all of the workers.
Rany also spent time with the VTHC We Are Union Women team, the VTHC OHS team and the Young Workers’ Centre during her busy schedule. She even managed to squeeze in attendance at the second Feminism in the Pub event hosted by Trades Hall on Wednesday night where ACTU Secretary Sally McManus was a guest panelist.
The day before graduating from her Anna Stewart training, Rany presented on the Cambodian Asbestos work to the National OHS Officer team at the AMWU, chaired by Deb Vallance. The same evening Rany was guest speaker for APHEDA’s Solidarity Sips event at United Voice and was joined by Federal Member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters. Lisa spoke about meeting with Rany when she travelled to Cambodia last year to view some of the great projects APHEDA is involved in. This fantastic night was attended by over 40 unionists from Melbourne and beyond and was generously hosted by Jess Walsh, Secretary of United Voice Victoria with a great team of United Voice APHEDA activists making sure the event flowed perfectly. Supporters donated $500 through the Union Aid Abroad APHEDA raffle.
We look forward to ongoing opportunities for the many unionists who met with and listened to Rany’s stories to continue to share campaigning and organising tools across borders in Solidarity with our comrades in Cambodia and around the globe.
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA would like to extend their gratitude to everyone at the VTHC and all of the smashing unionists who shared their work, solidarity and knowledge throughout the two weeks of Rany’s time in Melbourne.