|Issue No 109
|31 August 2001
Orange Finally Saved from Closure
Workers from the central-west town of Orange can finally sleep sound, after management of Swedish giant Electrolux guaranteed the long-term future of the area's largest employer.
Electrolux's managing director made the vow while visiting Orange last week to inspect the whitegoods manufacturing plant the company purchased from Email last year.
Workers from the plant had been seeking for the guarantee for more than 12 months, but had been unable to get a definitive response from management.
When both Email and then the new owners shed up to 600 of the 1800 workforce, concerns grew that the plant was slated for closure. And with the manufacturing plant responsible for nearly 30 per cent of Orange's economy, real fears were emerging for the long-term survival of the town.
But a community-based campaign to keep the plant in Orange, run by local unions with the support of the NSW Labor Council helped turned the tide. This included a rally through the streets of Orange which galvanised public support.
Australian Workers Union delegate Robert George this week officially thanked the Labor Council and its affiliates on behalf of the people of the region.
George says the strength of the campaign was that the workers themselves took charge of it from strategic planning to implementation.
AWA state president Mick Maddern said he was convinced that without the organising campaign and rally, the factory would have been closed.
Maddern says the Labor Council organising model of involving local communities in campaigns should become the framework for campaigns in other rural centres.
Interview: Union Power
Electrical Trades Union state secretary Bernie Riordan surveys the union movement's troubled relationship with Labor.
International: Spreading the Word
Veronica Apap profiles Kamal Fadel and the battle he is fighting for the independence of his homeland of West Sahara.
E-Change: Training for a Wired Workforce
Education is the entry point into the new economy; but the system still reflects an industrial age view of the world.
Unions: AWU Defends Millennium Train Workers
Mark Hearn looks at how a group of Newcastle workers are setting a new standard in the railways.
Politics: Chatting with Enemies of the State
Brazils MST is the largest and most radical social movement in the Americas. The CFMEU�s Phil Davey drops in for a chat.
History: Struggle and Inspiration
Rowan Cahill argues that it is only through understanding history that we can make sense of the present plight of workers.
Technology: A World Without Microsoft
Heather Sharp argues that all technologies involve political choices and moral values. Computer software is no exception, and it is Bill Gates' choices that dominate.
Review: Let There Be Rock
Kid Rock and Beer Bong, Australia�s Oldest Rock Fans review the week�s music and political events from the safety of the bar stool.
Satire: Tampa refugees ask to go home: "It's less inhumane than Australia"
The 460 asylum seekers on board the Tampa freight vessel have demanded to be taken back to their oppressive homelands, which they now realise aren�t nearly as hostile as Australia.
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Last Modified: 15 Nov 2005