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Workers Online
  Issue No 103 Official Organ of LaborNet 20 July 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Political Witch Hunt
CFMEU national secretary John Sutton on the mooted Royal Commission and what is really needed to clean up the building industry
*  E-Change: 1.3 The Nation State in Crisis
In the latest instalment in their study on the new politics, Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel looks at the rise and fall of the institutional State.
*  Unions: Industrial Violence
Rowan Cahill agrees with Tony Abbott that thuggery and violence are part of Australian industrial relations landscape - but it's the bosses who do most of the bashing.
*  History: Total Recoil
Neal Towart looks at how Royal Commissions designed to kick unions have typically come back to haunt their architects.
*  International: Behind the Eight Ball
Jubilee Australia's Thea Ormond looks at the international activity being generated around this week's Group of Eight Summit in Genoa
*  Politics: Now We The People
A new group believes there is an alternative to corporate gobalism and economic rationalism
*  Satire: Marsden Now to Sue Himself
Sydney solicitor John Marsden is suing himself for defamation, claiming the recent libel case he brought did irreparable damage to his reputation.
*  Review: In The House
Resident Four-Eyes Mark Morey attempts the impossible with this attempt at a serious analysis of Big Brother.

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Thumbs up for Unions!

Survey Shows Majority Support for Unions
A new survey of community attitudes to trade unions shows wide public support for unions – with the majority of Australians saying they would be in a trade union if they could.
[ Full Story » ]

Howard's Union Stooge in Hot Water
The aspiring union leader who received a personal endorsement from John Howard has been criticised in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission for his incompetence and lack of knowledge of the system.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Cash in on Big Brother
Dutch trade unions have capitalised on the global phenomenon of 'Big Brother' to promote global labour standards.
[ Full Story » ]

Big Boys Bully Over Della Compo Changes
Insurance companies have begun placing pressure on injured workers to settle workers compensation claims before the Della Bosca changes become law and weaken their position.
[ Full Story » ]

Where's WorkCover? Safety Prosecutions Drop Off
Unions have NSW Industrial Relations Minister John Della Bosca to explain official figures that suggest a massive drop in safety prosecutions over the 12 months to June 2000 from 674 to just 14.
[ Full Story » ]

Telstra's Ultimatum: Stay Away From Kim
Telstra management have been caught out trying to prevent staff from meeting with Opposition Leader Kim Beazley as he pledged a future Labor Government's support for public ownership of the network.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Win Stake in New Bank
Banking regulators have opened the way for a Workers Bank to compete with the established institutions after granting a banking licence to Members Equity this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Hours Test Case Gets Green Light
The Federal Government and major employer groups have failed in a bid to block the ACTU’s test case on reasonable working hours.
[ Full Story » ]

St John of God Workers Pray for Justice
LHMU members at St John of God private hospitals in Perth have been involved in a campaign of rolling stoppages all week in support of a fair enterprise bargaining increase.
[ Full Story » ]

Five-Star Action From Security Guards
Sydney’s 5-star Wentworth Hotel thought they could save some money, maybe make a bit of extra profit, by cutting back the hours of licensed security staff.
[ Full Story » ]

Howard Plans to Stop the Vote
Up to 150,000 mainly young people could be prevented from voting at this year’s Federal Election unless they enrol early with the Australian Electoral Commission.
[ Full Story » ]

Rio Outrage Heads for Court
Despite being found guilty for the second time in a matter of months of victimising coal mineworkes – this time at the Hunter Valley No.1 mine – Rio Tinto has again reacted by flouting the law of the land.
[ Full Story » ]

Nurses To Fight For Pay
NSW nurses will seek community support for their special pay claim to receive the same pay rates as physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists.
[ Full Story » ]

One Hundred Reasons to Save Aussie Post
Supporters of Australia Post will rally this week against plans to contract out jobs and secret plans to close up to 100 post offices.
[ Full Story » ]

Rail Track Sell-Off Part of Privatisation Push
Workers fear plans to transfer ownership of country rail lines from NSW to the Commonwealth will have a devastating effect on job security and rail maintenance.
[ Full Story » ]

Coles Myer Abandons Regional Jobs
70 jobs gone - more to follow as Coles Myer moves against Geelong Regional Jobs. "Corporate Australia and State Government abandon Regional Community" says union.
[ Full Story » ]

Qld Wage Rise Still Not Enough
A $13 a week rise for the lowest paid workers in Queensland is still not enough according to the Queensland Council of Unions.
[ Full Story » ]

Activists Notebook
More rallies, talks, exhibitions and general mayhem on the agenda for next week.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Problems with Hunter Decision

  • A Lost Cause

  • High Farce

  • Editorial

    Union Pride

    As the Howard Government works itself into a lather trying to gain political mileage from bashing unions, the results of the latest Labor Council survey of attitudes should serve as a reality check.

    At a time when popular wisdom would have unions on the nose - more people than ever say they think there is a place for trade unions and that they would - if free to choose - be part of the movement.

    These results suggest the public, if not the media, can separate the images of excess that have been bombarded with in recent weeks from the broader union movement. They accept unions as part of the mainstream Australian culture.

    In a world where news is presented in cartoon terms, the public seeme to recognise that where excessive behaviour occurs, it usually occurs in the face of excessive provocation.

    Perhaps its because they are informed by their own experience as workers. They know the level of power that management possess, they know how hard it is to stand up as an individual, they know the little acts of violence perpetrated on them day in day out.

    What these results also show is that the Labor Party has nothing to be ashamed of in its historical and ongoing linkages with the union movement.

    The tragedy is that too few of them are prepared to make a public stand for unions, instead treating them like an embarrassing, but thankfully, distant relative.

    When was the last time you heard a Labor MP really stand up for unions?

    When was the last time someone put their head up and paid tribute to the hundreds of officials, organisers, delegates and rank and filers who fight for the rights of workers day in day out?

    When was the last time a Labor MP proudly spoke of the unions' thankless work in taking on giant corporations or amoral small businesses to ensure that workers are not trodden all over?

    When was the last time the very existence of unions was celebrated as an indication of what is good about Australia?

    There are a few examples around - several of them made themselves known outside Macquarie Street last month - but the vast majority of Labor MPs appear more interested in winning a seat, falling into the elite society and working away from their union past as if it were some sort of adolescent fling.

    It's easy to be a public figure who swings with the media - reinforcing the unfair stereotypes through silence or even actively promoting them for short-term political gain.

    A greater challenge to Labor MPs would be to actually take up industrial relations and workplace issue as a cause celebre' - not something that is forced on them like bad medicine.

    In an era where polling rules politics, let's hope these survey figures give some of our elected representatives the intestinal fortitude to do something truly astounding, take pride in their trade union credentials.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    When Reith Came to Town The Big Men Kiss Butt Neale Towart's Labour Review With Friends Like These



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