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Issue #1637      May 7, 2014

May Day Adelaide SA

Numbers on the May Day march in Adelaide were up on last year. Seven hundred very colourful and vocal marchers followed the band’s truck from the Torrens Parade Ground to Light Square. Brief showers didn’t dampen the festive gathering, which boasted increased numbers of information and food stalls along with live music from local band Babylon Burning. Guest speaker SA Senator Penny Wong talked about the need for unity in the face of attacks from the Abbott government.

The May Day dinner was packed out again. This year’s guest speaker was national secretary of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union, Michele O’Neil. She recalled the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy in Bangladesh last year where over 1,000 garment workers died when the building they were working in collapsed. She warned listeners to brace themselves for the ongoing onslaught on workers’ rights and conditions by the federal government and to use the international connections of the labour movement in the fight back. She received a cheque for $1,000 from the SA May Day Collective to be forwarded to the affected Bangladeshi workers. When the hat was passed around, another $1,300 was raised.

“Spanner” awards for service in the spirit of May Day were awarded to CPA stalwarts Beryl and Alan Miller (pictured above) and (posthumously) to the Sue Baldy, long-time delegate and SA Branch president of United Voice. Beryl and Alan were greatly moved and surprised by the richly deserved award.

On Sunday, union members were joined by local activists to honour the late Dr Alan Finger, whose name was added to the Workers’ Memorial monument at Black Diamond corner. In Port Adelaide CPA General Secretary Bob Briton spoke about comrade Alan’s long record of activism from the 1930s and the enlightened work in his profession as a doctor. He contested 16 elections for the Communist Party during his time in SA – 11 at federal level and 5 state seats with notable results. He passed away in 1985.

The usual May Day event at the Semaphore Workers’ Club was devoted to the memory of Peter Nicholls, long-serving Communist councillor in Port Adelaide and member of the Port Branch of the Party (see previous article).

Next article – May Day Fremantle WA

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