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  Issue No 108 Official Organ of LaborNet 24 August 2001  

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News

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.

A group of researchers headed by Barbara Pocock of Adelaide University interviewed 53 workers and their families to gauge the effect on them of unreasonable hours of work. The finding is that working long hours corrode community and family life. People are missing important time with children and partners, giving up hobbies and friendships. The full report will be launched in the near future.

So why do people do it? Some do it for money and get caught in the overtime trap. They become accustomed to the higher take home pay and come to rely on the extra hours. But when you consider the high levels of unpaid overtime that Australians work money can't be the primary reason for working long hours. The research shows that a strong factor is 'culture'. Organisations placing a lot of pressure on workers to work beyond standard hours and to come in on rest days. And if you don't comply, expect to be overlooked for promotion, regarded as not committed to the organisation, and made less secure in your job.

Interviewees feel that work has become their life. They find it difficult to foresee a change to their hours regimes believing the long hours culture is so strong that the prospect of individuals having an impact seems remote.

The research concluded that Australians need a regulated standard for hours and the capacity to enforce that collectively if working hours are to be reigned in.

Will the sky fall in if hours are cut?

ACIRRT at the University of Sydney are conducting some research that may also assist the claim. They are on the lookout for workplaces where hours have been reduced. They will be investigating effects on profit and productivity where hours have been cut.

Please contact ACIRRT if you are involved with a workplace where hours have been reduced.

Ring Brigid Van Wanrooy, or Justine Evesson at ACIRRT on 02 9351 5625 before October.


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*   View entire issue - print all of the articles!

*   Issue 108 contents

In this issue
Features
*  Interview: The Man from Manusafe
Manusafe chief Andrew Whiley explains why employers have nothing to fear from the entitlements trust fund.
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*  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.
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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.
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*  Unions: Slavery and Struggle
A battle with all the elements of the infamous waterfront dispute is being played out in Charleston, South Carolina:
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*  International: Postcard from Santiago
The CFMEU's Phil Davey meets up with Communist Party cadres in Chile who led the underground resistance to Pinochet.
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*  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.
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*  Economics: Global Regulation
Public sector unions from around the globe are taking the first steps to work internationally against the deregulation agenda.
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*  Satire: Niche Identified in Left-Wing Publications Market
A marxist-feminist activist has discovered a gaping hole in the lucrative left-wing publications market.
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*  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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News
»  Entitlements Just Tip of the Iceberg
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»  State-Wide Push for Entitlement Protection
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»  Support Builds for Industrial Manslaughter Laws
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»  Organiser Assaulted – Police Called In
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»  Young Casuals Not Paid Overtime
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»  Commonwealth Hit With Criminal Conviction
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»  Back Door Bob Does Wollongong
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»  ABC IR Memo Draws More Fire
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»  Unions Warn of More Deaths in Construction
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»  Big Brother Hits Rail Workers
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»  Libs Dodge Public Education Forum
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»  Westfield Squeezes The Extra Dollar
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»  MP's Staffers Fume Over Pay Deal
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»  Mat Leave Win for Country Energy
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»  No Wonder Wonderland Workers Unhappy
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»  Qld's First Major Review of Awards
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»  Unions Buck Online Ambush
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»  Bras Burned for Burma
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»  Two Capps To Cancel Debt
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»  Australians Work Too Much, Too Long
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»  Activists Notebook
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Columns
»  The Soapbox
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»  The Locker Room
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»  Trades Hall
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»  Tool Shed
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Letters to the editor
»  Waterfront Women's Support Group
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»  Banking Lobby Group
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»  Love Your Tool!
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»  More on Indonesian Workers
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