ACTU President Sharan Burrow said: "I urge union members to give generously to a special tsunami donation program being put in place by the union aid agency 'Union Aid Abroad' (also known as APHEDA).
Union Aid Abroad will distribute aid in co-operation with 'Solidar', an international alliance of trade union-based agencies active in the region.
Australia's unions are in contact with trade unions and political parties that are active in the regions badly affected by the tsunami.
We have been advised that local unions and progressive political parties have already organised a massive 20,000 volunteer force to work in the villages devastated by the tsunami and help restore basic services to the local communities.
Donations can be made to the Union Aid Abroad - Tsunami Appeal via the hotline - ph 1800 888 674 from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday - or on the web http://www.apheda.org.au
Peter Jennings, Executive Officer for Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA - said: "Union Aid Abroad - APHEDA - has been in contact with Solidar - the alliance of aid agencies connected to the European trade unions - to link up with those agencies working in badly affected areas such as the southern and eastern coasts of Sri Lanka.
There is now a consortium of Norwegian Peoples Aid, which has 650 de-mining staff in eastern Sri Lanka, as well as Workers' Aid from Switzerland and Germany, and MPDL from Spain that is sending staff and supplies to affected areas.
We will keep unions informed of progress and will provide details of how aid is being delivered via Solidar and Norwegian Peoples Aid.
The Union Aid Abroad office is open 10am to 6pm and can provide information or collect donations on ph 1800 888 674. The office will be fully operational from Tuesday 4 January 2005."
Media Contact: Sharan Burrow ph 0419 303 849