|Issue No 108||24 August 2001|
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.
In the first prosecution of a bank brought by a union, former Attorney General Mr Jeff Shaw, QC represented the Finance Sector Union, Commonwealth Bank Officers Section, NSW branch. As Attorney General Mr Shaw introduced the changes which allow unions to bring OH&S prosecutions in NSW.
In a landmark judgement on 20 August 2001, the Chief Industrial Magistrate fined the Bank and recorded a conviction against it, after a serious incident involving a hold up at its Wellington, NSW branch in 1999.
"Union members had become very concerned about their personal safety following a series of violent incidents at other financial institutions in the town," said Peter Presdee, Branch Secretary, Finance Sector Union, Commonwealth Bank Officers Section.
"On their behalf, we informed the Bank and asked it to conduct a risk assessment in order to provide adequate protection for staff."
The Bank failed to respond to the Union's request, and four staff were involved when an armed hold up subsequently took place on 24 August 1999.
The Bank pleaded guilty to the breach of the Act and was fined $25,000.
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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.
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