Workers Online
Workers Online
Workers Online
  Issue No 105 Official Organ of LaborNet 03 August 2001  

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Features
*  Interview: Whose Advocate?
Employment Advocate Jonathon Hamberger argues the case for his organisation's survival and reveals his secret union past.
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*  Politics: CHOGM: What Should Unions Do?
Activists Peter Murphy and Vince Caughley kick off the debate about what is the appropriate action ot take when CHOGM leaders meet in Brisbane
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*  E-Change: 2.1 - The Changing Corporate Landscape
In the second part of their series on the impact of new technology, Peter Lewis and Michael Gadiel try to understand the new corporate playing field.
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*  Unions: Hamburgled
Jim Marr reports that the Employment Advocate has been handed a chance to salvage some credibility by cleaning up anti-union practices in the call centre industry.
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*  Economics: Privatisation: The Dangerous Road
Frank Stilwell argues that the corporate collapses of HIH and One Tel are potent reminders of the downside of ‘people’s capitalism’.
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*  History: Hard-Earned Lessons
Art Shostack looks at the legacy of the landmark strike by PATCO air traffic controllers 20 years ago.
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*  International: Political Prisoner
Greenpeace campaigner Nic Clyde, facing up to six years gaol in the United States for taking part in a non-violent protest, speaks exclusively with workers Online.
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*  Review: Seven Pubs and Seven Nights
Labor Council's newest recruit, Susan Sheather, shows she respects tradition by going in search of the perfect bar
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*  Satire: Obituary: Mr Rob Cartwright - Captain of Industry
In all fields of endeavour, there are those who command our respect through their sheer commitment to excellence. One such titan was Rob Cartwright, whose chosen field, the obscure HR discipline of "moving people onto individual contracts" lost its greatest practitioner and champion late last night, following a tragic self-inflicted accident.
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News


Souths and CFMEU - "We Are Family"
Photo by HT Lee


Paradise Lost – Insurers Kill Workers' Camp
A trade union holiday camp has been forced to close because no insurer will cover it, sparking calls for the Carr Government to regulate the entire industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Entitlements Betrayal at Centre of Car Crisis
A refusal by the management of a Sydney manufacturing firm to extend an insurance bond guaranteeing workers entitlements is the real issue behind a strike that has paralysed the motor vehicle industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Piggins Pledges Support for Building Workers
South Sydney hero George Piggins has vowed to support the CFMEU in their battle against attacks from the Howard Government.
[ Full Story » ]

Legal Win for Wharfie Widows
Widows of Australian waterside workers killed by exposure to asbestos will benefit after a breakthrough settlement for 11 women in Melbourne.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Call for Dropping of Greenpeace Charges
An environmental activist who is facing a US prison term for simply doing his job – engaging in a non-violent protest – has secured the support of the NSW trade union movement.
[ Full Story » ]

Jubilee Marches On Despite G8 Debt Fatigue
No-one who participated in Jubilee Australia’s Drop the Debt March on Sunday, July 22, could be accused of being a fair weather protester.
[ Full Story » ]

Cleaner Sacked For Visiting Aging Parents Overseas
A Canberra cleaning company, described as 'unreasonable' by the Industrial Relations Commission for denying annual leave, has now sacked their employee while she's overseas visiting her aging parents.
[ Full Story » ]

Bracks Plans Curbs on Assembly Rights
The Victorian Trades Hall Council is opposed to state government plans to introduce new laws governing peaceful assemblies, rallies and processions.
[ Full Story » ]

Big Gain for Weight Loss Workers
The 200 Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centre workers, who first organised themselves into a union in October 1999 to fight their poor working conditions, have just had their first Award certified.
[ Full Story » ]

Qld Wage Increases Welcomed
The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission this week handed down its decision on the QCU State Wage Case application filed in May this year.
[ Full Story » ]

Protecting Children, Protecting Jobs
NSW child care workers will this month consider how the working-with-children laws - which bar some people from working with our kids - has operated in its first twelve months.
[ Full Story » ]

Child Labour Fine on McDonald's
Two McDonald's restaurants in one of Britain's wealthiest areas have been heavily fined for exploiting child workers, according to the reports from Britain.
[ Full Story » ]

Call for Colombian Inquiry Into Murders
NSW unions have joined a global push for a special ILO committee of inquiry into human rights violations in Colombia – where close to 200 trade unionists have been murdered in the past 18 months.
[ Full Story » ]

Activist Notebook
The annual Hiroshima Day march and action for Burma are both on this week's activist agenda.
[ Full Story » ]


Letters to the Editor
  • War of Words: Crosby Goes Botsman

  • Tri-Star - Just In Time to Blame

  • Just a Tip

  • Concerns About Members Equity

  • Editorial

    Industrial Treachery

    Trust the Mad Monk to go over the top. As the impacts of industrial action at Tri-Star cause the inevitable ripple through the economy, Tony Abbott leads with the chin, accusing the workers of "industrial treachery".

    Their crime? To take pre-emptive action to secure their entitlements after their employer - recently sold in a fire sale to a shell company refused to extend an existing arrangement to insure their redundancy payments.

    Abbott's loose tongue is as legendary as it is predicable. As always, he's way off beam. What is being played out is the direct result of failures of macroeconomic that have created a gulf of mistrust between capital and labour.

    The TriStar dispute is a direct result of Howard Government's failings on three levels: to protect workers entitlements, create a workable industrial relations framework and to intervene as an honest broker in disputes that effect the national interest. .

    The issue of workers entitlements has been a running sore. The Howard Government has attempted to apply a band-aid but the bleeding won't stop. Under the current system, stripping a company of assets like accrued entitlements makes good business sense.

    With stories of workers being ripped off becoming so common, they're hardly even newsworthy anymore, who can blame the Tri-Star workers from saying "enough is enough".

    The current dispute has been worsened because Australia no longer has a workable industrial relations system. Howard passed laws to weaken the power of IRC to settle disputes and brought in the protected bargaining period where industrial action is intensified.

    Unions representing the TriStar workers are being accused of pattern bargaining - but it is the company that is refusing to negotiate at the behest of the Australian Industry group. It's the bosses doing the pattern bargaining!

    And then there's the altogether unconstructive role the government has played. Instead of getting the parties together and resolving a dispute that could harm the national interest: you have the likes of Abbott and Minchin on the sidelines barracking and heckling.

    It reminds me of a good line from Bob McMullan when he had the IR portfolio "Peter Reith is the Minister against Industrial Relations". Abbott has taken on reith's mantle with gusto.

    And of course the problems have been exacerbated by the Just in Time inventory system - that has decimated the warehousing industry in the name of short-term profits. Another American management technique that looks good on paper until its exposed to the vagaries of the real world.

    The reality is that the Australian vehicle industry is being hurt by a structural failure in the Australian economy - the failure to create a climate of trust between capital and labour.

    It's the crowning achievement of five year's of divisive and ideologically-driven rule.

    Yes, there has been industrial treachery in this land. But it aint coming from TriStar.

    Peter Lewis
    Editor


    Columns

    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Grant Belchamber: Unions And The Third Way Combat Cubano Neale Towart's Labour Review When I'm 64

     


    
    

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