Delo Be Isugan, the Filipino worker at the centre of exposing severe exploitation and trafficking in a Canberra massage business has been announced as the winner of the May Day Award tonight.
The Awards were presented by Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry at the annual UnionsACT May Day Dinner.
May Day Award
The May Day Award is the Canberra union movement’s highest award, awarded to rank-and-file union members who have demonstrated exceptional courage and union values.
Winner: Delo Be Isugan
Delo is a massage therapist who stood up to threats of deportation and unfair dismissal by her employer, and exposed serious human trafficking and exploitation in Canberra. Through her courage, and the courage of her co-workers, Delo ended and exposed the exploitation by their employer.
Other Awards presented tonight included:
Delegates of the Year
The Delegates of the Year Award recognises the significant contribution made by union delegates to their co-workers.
Winner: CFMEU Light Rail Delegates
The CFMEU light rail delegates have been strong and effective representatives of the workers engaged on that project. As delegates, they have grown membership to 300, built a strong union culture of collective action, safety and respect.
Award Recognising Contributions to the Advancement of Women
This Award specifically acknowledges the important work and role of women in unions, and made a substantial contribution to the advancement of women.
Winner: Rebecca Hobbs
Rebecca is a public servant who has been pivotal in working towards the establishment of a gender network in her Department, and also mentoring young delegates in their workplace.
Young Activist of the Year
The Young Activist Award recognises the achievements of young union activists who have made a significant contribution to advancing unionism.
Winner: Anna Dennis
Anna has been a strong and engaged activist with UnionsACT for a number of years, and as a student she led many campaigns around student worker exploitation, refugee rights, and fee deregulation, as well as for Marriage Equality.
The following quotes are attributable to Alex White, secretary of UnionsACT:
“All of the awards presented tonight are to rank-and-file union members who have made a substantial contribution to advancing the rights and interests of their co-workers.
“The union movement is made up of thousands of workplace leaders and activists, and tens of thousands of members, who volunteer their time each and every day.
“The May Day Awards are a longstanding tradition with the union movement, where we recognise and celebrate the remarkable achievements of everyday working people.
“I would like to congratulate all of the winners tonight, and to thank every union activist, delegate, leader and member who have worked together to build a better future and change the rules for all.”