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  Issue No 107 Official Organ of LaborNet 17 August 2001  

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News

Soldiers Suffer Dodgy Bog

By Andrew Casey

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.

" The soldiers are not impressed that their canteen meals are not hot because kitchen staff numbers have been cut back," LHMU Assistant National Secretary, Tim Ferrari said.

" Where once at meal times kitchen staff were serving 80-90 soldiers the staff cuts have been so deep that at meal times kitchen staff are now sometimes serving double that number - one kitchen hand to 160-plus soldiers."

There can be several hundred soldiers and their families living at Puckapunyal at any one time.

Puckapunyal is well known to many thousands of Australians who lived there and were trained there during their army careers - either as volunteers or national servicemen.

" These former soldiers would be disgusted if they saw what was happening to the living conditions of our current service people," Tim Ferrari said.

Cut Corners

"To cut corners a supervisor at Puckapunyal's kitchen recently decided to clean it out by using a fire hose, washing out an area where there are dozens of electrical appliances and power points.

" That created an obvious occupational health and safety issue which our members were not prepared to put up with. The company created an industrial dispute over this issue. They seem to be more interested in the bottom line than anything else."

The cleaners - members of the LHMU this week took their first

industrial action against Spotless/Nationwide, the private contractor who won the tender in March 2000.

" They won the contract to service the soldiers on the basis they could undercut the wages of our members.

15% pay cut

" In the 18 months since Spotless won the tender they have cut our members pay packets by 15%, reduced working hours and have recently threatened to reduce the number of full-time staff and cut the number of hours worked by the remaining staff.

" This company has decided to make a profit out of the soldiers by dramatically cutting the level of services at the barracks. For example, ablution blocks, which used to be cleaned out everyday, are now only cleaned out on five days.

"The employer has also threatened the income of employees who complain about their methods. LHMU members will not accept this behavior lying down," Tim Ferrari said.

The local Federal MP, Steve Gibbons, has promised to raise the issues involved in this dispute in Parliament.


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*    Visit the LHMU

*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 107 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: What's The Deal?
Labor's IR spokesman Arch Bevis explains how a Beazley Government will rebuild our broken system.
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*  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.
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*  Industrial: Into the 21st Century
ACTU President Sharan Burrow looks at the landmark deal delivering workers 12 months paid maternity leave.
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*  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.
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*  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.
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*  Media: ABC and the Knowledge Nation
Tony Moore looks at how the national broadcaster's fortunes are closely linked to the Knowledge Nation Agenda
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*  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).
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*  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.
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*  Review: Globalisation Is Globalisation
In an extract from his book, Christopher Shiel argues that the official Australian perspective on globalisation is strikingly narrow.
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News
»  Labor's Entitlements Pledge: Trust Will Remain
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»  Ripped Off Workers Start Election Push
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»  Stellar Out of Line: Hamberger
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»  It’s a Record! Longest Ever Bank Queue
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»  Still No IR at ABC Radio
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»  Qantas Threatens Bangkok Workers
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»  WorkCover Report Delayed Two More Weeks
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»  Unrest in Hospitals Over Contracting Out
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»  Paid Baby Leave Sparks New Family Push
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»  Nurses Pay Action Hots Up
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»  Costello's Couriers March to Canberra
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»  'Man Who Worked Too Hard' Wins Back Job
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»  Soldiers Suffer Dodgy Bog
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»  Union Backs Call For Safety Review
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»  Cleaner Wins Annual Leave Rights Dispute
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»  Tip Top's Not the One
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»  Flying High: Airport Guards Scoop Cash
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»  Union Presence At Big Indian Community Fair
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»  Activists Notenbook
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  Sport
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  The Shark That Cried Woolf
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»  The Plight of Casual Teachers
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»  Belly's Back!
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