|Issue No 107||17 August 2001|
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.
" This fair attracts upwards of 10,000 people from across Sydney with many of the people attending working in industries represented by our union - cleaning, security, hospitality," Jagath Bandara, NSW LHMU organiser said.
" Our union has adopted an active outreach campaign to help members from different communities organise to get a better life for themselves and their families in this country.
" We're hoping our presence there will be a small act of solidarity and support for people struggling to settle down in this city.
" Campaigns to defend and promote the rights of immigrants and ethnic communities in our workplaces are increasingly coming to the fore.
" Our movement supports the issues which are closest to the hearts of working people from the Indian sub-continent," Jagath Bandara said.
" Some of our best members and activists come from our growing membership among the different ethnic communities.
" We are eager to use this as a base for further growth for the LHMU and all Australian unions."
Jagath Bandara is originally from Sri Lanka, worked at a Sheraton hotel in Sydney and is now a member of the Hotel Organising Team in the NSW LHMU.
The union movement in NSW is about to launch a new pamphlet aimed at Non-English Speaking workers explaining the role of unions in Australia.
Recent research for the Labor Council of NSW on unions and the ethnic communities has highlighted the challenges and some new strategies for union organisers.
Interviews for the research report were conducted with workers from Arabic, Vietnamese. Chinese, Filipino, Korean and Indian communities.
The main points from the research showed that what people knew about unions was often based on their experiences in their countries of origin where unions were sometimes less democratic and aligned with authoritarian regimes.
Workers from some of these communities were also worried that if they joined a union they were aligned with particular ideologies which might be risky in their countries of origin.
Some of the cultural groups also did not want to join a union because they felt it might be 'rocking the boat' or 'biting the hand that feeds them'.
The positive part of the research came through when all interviewees said they believed members of their communities would join unions if they clearly understood the role of the union, its functions within the workplace, union collective power and what union dues pay for and the individual benefits one receives.
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History: The Age of Dissent
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Media: ABC and the Knowledge Nation
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International: Brazil´s C.U.T. - When Big Is Beautiful
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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.
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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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005