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Workers Online
  Issue No 108 Official Organ of LaborNet 24 August 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: The Man from Manusafe
Manusafe chief Andrew Whiley explains why employers have nothing to fear from the entitlements trust fund.
*  E-Change: 2.4 The Skeptic’s Response
In this round-table discussion, Noel Hester leads the charge against the argument that globalisation and change are inevitable.
*  Politics: No Hand Idle
Whitlam Institute director Peter Botsman finds much to agree with in John Howard's social coalition for welfare delivery.
*  Unions: Slavery and Struggle
A battle with all the elements of the infamous waterfront dispute is being played out in Charleston, South Carolina:
*  International: Postcard from Santiago
The CFMEU's Phil Davey meets up with Communist Party cadres in Chile who led the underground resistance to Pinochet.
*  History: Race and Australian Labour.
Australian unionists have long been questioning notions of a “White Australia”, even before the colonies united with it as the central feature.
*  Economics: Global Regulation
Public sector unions from around the globe are taking the first steps to work internationally against the deregulation agenda.
*  Satire: Niche Identified in Left-Wing Publications Market
A marxist-feminist activist has discovered a gaping hole in the lucrative left-wing publications market.
*  Review: The Fight for Equal Pay
In this extract from her new book, Zelda D'Aprano looks at the contribution Kath Williams made to the struggle for equality.

Manusafe's Andrew Whiley

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The Charleston Five

Entitlements Just Tip of the Iceberg
The protection of workers entitlements through trust funds could provide a model for dealing with the next big challenge for workers – portability of their entitlements, according to the chief of the Manusafe scheme.
[ Full Story » ]

State-Wide Push for Entitlement Protection
All workers in the transport industry could have their entitlements insured by their employer under a ground breaking test case in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission.
[ Full Story » ]

Support Builds for Industrial Manslaughter Laws
Hundreds of union delegates and health and safety representatives rallied in Melbourne this week to support the Victorian Government's new industrial manslaughter laws.
[ Full Story » ]

Organiser Assaulted – Police Called In
A Sydney builder faces criminal charges for allegedly assaulting a building union official after he attempted to speak to workers on site this week.
[ Full Story » ]

Young Casuals Not Paid Overtime
One third of young casual workers are forced to work overtime without pay, according to a national survey of 1400 employees.
[ Full Story » ]

Commonwealth Hit With Criminal Conviction
The Commonwealth Bank was this week convicted under the NSW Occupational Health and Safety legislation of a failure to ensure a safe working environment for its employees.
[ Full Story » ]

Back Door Bob Does Wollongong
Premier Bob Carr slipped into town today through the back door, apparently to avoid coming into contact with workers still angry about the Government’ betrayal over workers compensation changes.
[ Full Story » ]

ABC IR Memo Draws More Fire
An ABC management memo dictating the way the journalists should report industrial disputes is an outrageous attempt to censor news, say Victorian union leaders.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Warn of More Deaths in Construction
Exempting small employers from safety regulations in the construction industry for two years could lead to more deaths in the industry the CFMEU has warned
[ Full Story » ]

Big Brother Hits Rail Workers
The State Rail Authority is under fire over allegations it is spying on workers in breach of agreements with the workers and their unions.
[ Full Story » ]

Libs Dodge Public Education Forum
The organisers of a convention on public education are still waiting to hear whether anyone from the Howard Government will be prepared to front to defend their neglect of the system.
[ Full Story » ]

Westfield Squeezes The Extra Dollar
Retail workers employed at Westfield Liverpool are fuming at the shopping centre’s renewed hostile bid to secure paid parking arrangements.
[ Full Story » ]

MP's Staffers Fume Over Pay Deal
Staff employed in Federal MP's offices are up in arms over an 'unacceptably low' pay offer from the Department of Finance.
[ Full Story » ]

Mat Leave Win for Country Energy
In a significant victory for female rural workers and their families, Country Energy this week agreed to paid maternity leave for the first time.
[ Full Story » ]

No Wonder Wonderland Workers Unhappy
Cleaners at Sydney's big theme park, Wonderland, are holding their first ever stoppage this Sunday to demand they all be treated equally.
[ Full Story » ]

Qld's First Major Review of Awards
The Queensland Council of Union (QCU) lodged its submissions in the first major review of Awards in Queensland.
[ Full Story » ]

Unions Buck Online Ambush
Unions are up in arms over plans by the NSW Department of Industrial Relations to move the NSW Industrial Gazette into an online publication.
[ Full Story » ]

Bras Burned for Burma
A rally outside a Sydney retail outlet this week will launch the consumer phase of the campaign to force the Burmese military junta to comply with core global labour standards.
[ Full Story » ]

Two Capps To Cancel Debt
Jubilee Australia will be taking the message that Australia could cancel all debts owed to it by developing nations for the price of just two cappuccinos per citizen to the CHOGM conference in Brisbane later this year.
[ Full Story » ]

Australians Work Too Much, Too Long
The ACTU is gearing up for its Reasonable Hours claim with field research to tell a simple story - many Australians are working hours that are too long.
[ Full Story » ]

Activists Notebook
More ideas, events and fundraisers than you can throw a picket at in this week's activist's agenda.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Waterfront Women's Support Group

  • Banking Lobby Group

  • Love Your Tool!

  • More on Indonesian Workers

  • Editorial

    The New Big Picture

    Beyond the Parliamentary point-scoring and the titt for tatt tax debate that seems to work the Canberra press gallery into a lather, there's a broader story unfolding in the Australian electorate.

    It's about the loss of confidence in the institutions that were once run by the State for the people, but are increasingly being run as businesses for their shareholders.

    We are seeing chapters of it played out every day: the Commonwealth Bank announces more branch closures amidst massive profits, Telstra wrestles with the government on the cost of service over profitability, Qantas looks to set up offshore bases as the only way to stay in the air.

    Taken on their own, each is the story of a large company dealing with its position in a global marketplace, having to make the 'tough' decisions to survive.

    But from a longer-term view of history they are all linked. All were once public institutions, privatized in the wave of deregulation that hit in the eighties and that continues to this day.

    These privatisations were the subject of bitter debate within the labour movement at the time, but each was ultimately approved after much soul-searching.

    The argument that carried the day then was that without private injections of capital, the state-based enterprises would end up being worthless or an intolerable drain on public moneys. In short there was no choice.

    What no-one seemed to comprehend at the time was that in selling off our public institutions, we were not just transferring ownership - we were changing their entire reason for being.

    With the benefit of hindsight this seems obvious, but the economic fetishes of the times notions of public service did not appear in the equation.

    If there is a yearning in the electorate today, it is for government to strike a New Deal with these privatized institutions, a way of regaining some control

    Setting parameters for their operation - such as Kim Beazley's proposal for a social charter on banks - may be one approach that turns back the tide. Shareholder activism may be another, particularly the untapped power of industry super funds. Maintaining majority ownership in telstra is essential.

    But in this election year, all parties are faced with a compelling question that must be answered - what are the terms under which private institutions should be free to generate their massive profits? In short, what is the Big Picture?

    We are not talking revolution here. We are not talking anti-growth, not One Nation, not even the Metalworkers and their protectionist agenda. Just a fair deal from those who make the big, big profits.

    Yes, globalisation is a reality, but that doesn't mean governments need to vacate the field altogether.

    And any political party that can provide a framework for reclaiming those institutions that once made up our community will have a compelling case for election.

    That's what I'll be voting for.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Who's Holding the Baby? Jim Marr Fires Up Paul Howes Week on the Web Composing Mischief



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