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Workers Online
  Issue No 107 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 August 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: What's The Deal?
Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis explains how a Beazley Government will rebuild our broken system.
*  E-Change: 2.3 The State of the Union
White hope or white elephant? The future of trade unions is by no means guaranteed in the networked society.
*  Industrial: Into the 21st Century
ACTU President Sharan Burrow looks at the landmark deal delivering workers 12 months paid maternity leave.
*  Unions: The Black Hole
Jim Marr goes inside Stellar to discover the human cost of a management philosophy that says: you are on your own.
*  History: The Age of Dissent
The Sydney Branch of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History has organised a Conference on Social Protest Movements and the Labour Movement, 1965-1975.
*  Media: ABC and the Knowledge Nation
Tony Moore looks at how the national broadcaster's fortunes are closely linked to the Knowledge Nation Agenda
*  International: Brazil´s C.U.T. - When Big Is Beautiful
The CFMEU´s Phil Davey drops in on Brazil´s equivalent to the ACTU, the Central Unica Dos Trabalhadores (CUT).
*  Satire: Bracks Disputes Cabramatta tag
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has called for a national council to decide on a location for Australia's drug capital.
*  Review: Globalisation Is Globalisation
In an extract from his book, Christopher Shiel argues that the official Australian perspective on globalisation is strikingly narrow.

ALP Candidates at Workers' Parliament

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Unions NSW's Campaign Pitch

Labor's Entitlements Pledge: Trust Will Remain
A Beazley Labor Government would ensure that a universal scheme of workers entitlements did not override trust funds established by individual unions, Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis has revealed.
[ Full Story » ]

Ripped Off Workers Start Election Push
The NSW Labor Council has launched its campaign to elevate the issue of workers rights – including the protection of entitlements - to the forefront of the upcoming federal election.
[ Full Story » ]

Stellar Out of Line: Hamberger
The Employment Advocate has conceded that a Wollongong company at the centre of a campaign over its anti-union practices could be in breach of the Workplace Relations Act.
[ Full Story » ]

It’s a Record! Longest Ever Bank Queue
Central Coast bank workers queued themselves into the Guinness Book of Records, forming the world's largest ever bank queue to highlight declining community services caused by bank closures.
[ Full Story » ]

Still No IR at ABC Radio
ABC Radio's Sydney newsroom is still without an industrial relations reporter, more than two months after its roundsman left the job.
[ Full Story » ]

Qantas Threatens Bangkok Workers
Despite talk of moving its operations offshore, Qantas management have threatened to close their Bangkok base if workers there join a union and work collectively for higher wages and better conditions.
[ Full Story » ]

WorkCover Report Delayed Two More Weeks
The Sheahan Report into workers compensation common law rights has had its deadline extended by two weeks at the request of chair, Justice Terry Sheahan.
[ Full Story » ]

Unrest in Hospitals Over Contracting Out
A bizarre 20-year deal with a private company packaging power supply with labour has sparked industrial unrest amongst maintenance workers in hospitals in Sydney's south-east.
[ Full Story » ]

Paid Baby Leave Sparks New Family Push
The ground-breaking Australian Catholic University (ACU) agreement, which included a year’s paid maternity leave, has sparked a nationwide push for further benefits for families.
[ Full Story » ]

Nurses Pay Action Hots Up
NSW nurses have commenced the industrial phase of their campaign to have their value recognized, with two-hour stoppages across Western Sydney the taste of things to come.
[ Full Story » ]

Costello's Couriers March to Canberra
A group of angry courier drivers is on their way to Canberra by foot to highlight their growing anger at their treatment at the hands of the Australian tax office.
[ Full Story » ]

'Man Who Worked Too Hard' Wins Back Job
Sacked Centrelink worker Geoff Scott has been reinstated after the Australian Industrial Relations Commission gave his employer 14 days to take him back and awarded back pay.
[ Full Story » ]

Soldiers Suffer Dodgy Bog
Soldiers at the Puckapunyal Barracks, north of Melbourne, have had to suffer cuts in the cleaning of their barracks and their ablution blocks - as well as longer queues in the canteen, as a private contractor tries to increase its profits.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Backs Call For Safety Review
The CFMEU has welcomed the call by the National Occupational Health and Safety chairman for a national review of safety in the construction industry.
[ Full Story » ]

Cleaner Wins Annual Leave Rights Dispute
The Canberra cleaning company, described as 'unreasonable' by the Industrial Relations Commission for denying annual leave, today lost its appeal against the decision before the Full Bench of the AIRC.
[ Full Story » ]

Tip Top's Not the One
Bakery workers from Sydney and Newcastle went on a 24 hour stoppage, and protested outside Tip Top's head office in Chatswood NSW, following the company's decision to renege on an agreement to provide income protection and improve wages.
[ Full Story » ]

Flying High: Airport Guards Scoop Cash
One of the lowest paid group of workers at Melbourne Airport have won a first enterprise agreement, giving them pay increases of between 18-20 per cent over the next three years.
[ Full Story » ]

Union Presence At Big Indian Community Fair
Members of the LHMU are taking part in one of Sydney's largest community fairs this Sunday - the annual Indian Fair at the Fairfield Showground.
[ Full Story » ]

Activists Notenbook
With strategy, debate, art and direct action we have all the angles covered this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • The Shark That Cried Woolf

  • The Plight of Casual Teachers

  • Belly's Back!

  • Editorial

    Conspiracy Theories

    A conspiracy theorist would say it was all a Machiavelian play by John Howard.

    Here's the plan: (i) refuse to protect workers entitlements, (ii) impose an industrial relations system that can no longer force the resolution of disputes, (iii)create a bargaining system that limits the period workers can take industrial action and (iv) sit back and watch the fireworks go off.

    Then, as workers use what little power they have to protect their entitlements, use the industrial activity that flows as the basis for a campaign that "the unions are out of control" and "Labor is in the hands of the unions".

    Brilliant! Of course, one of the golden rules of politics is to never mistake a conspiracy for a stuff-up. And a stuff-up is what we have at the moment.

    Through its ideological zeal and naïve ignorance, the Howard Government has created a dysfunctional industrial relations system.

    It has failed to provide a secure safety net for workers. It has stripped the independent umpire of its powers and it has created a climate of industrial confrontation.

    And off the back of this chaos, Howard and his head-kicker Abbott opt for rank opportunism - attempting to manufacture a conspiracy that has faceless union 'bosses' pulling the strings of a Beazley labor Government.

    When unions are accused - as they inevitably will be - of being partisan in the lead-up to the federal election for having the temerity to embrace the ALP this should all be remembered.

    It is clear what the labour movement is fighting for: an industrial system that actually works for both workers and employers.

    That Kim Beazley and Arch Bevis are proposing an industrial reform package that will fix the Reith-Howard mess is the important threshold issue for gaining the support of anyone who cares about justice at work.

    But it is only the first step. Once in power, a Beazley Government will be expected to look at issues from the perspective of their core constituents, the workers - not exclusively, but diligently.

    The group of ALP candidates and members who attended Labor Council this week to hear from the industrial frontline were doing just that.

    It doesn't put them in the union movement's pockets, just a lot closer to the people they represent than most of the poseurs who kid themselves that Canberra is the center of the universe.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Ryan Heath – Why Protest CHOGM? When Five Channels Are Not Enough Neale Towart's Labour Review Life's a Breach



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