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  Issue No 116 Official Organ of LaborNet 19 October 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: The Green Machine
Nick Bolkus outlines Labor's environmental stance and lays down the gauntlet to Bob Brown's Greens.
*  Industrial: Regaining Control
France’s 35 hour week stems from the program of the Left coalition government which went to the polls in June 1997 with the policy of ‘worksharing’.
*  Unions: Home Of The Longest Day
Australia has a dubious new prize to put in its cluttered national trophy cabinet. We are increasingly the most over-worked nation in the world.
*  Campaign Diary: Week Two: Fightback
Labor's doing everything to win a normal campaign - but this is no normal campaign.
*  Economics: Who Will Notice When You Die?
Johann Christoph Arnold asks whether the anti-globalisation movement is the answer to an epidemic of loneliness.
*  History: American Terror
Incredible revelations about the work of the US National Security Agency through the Cold War years help put the current War of Terror into perspective.
*  International: Global Day of Action
In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the US last week, the ICFTU has announced that preparations for the Global Unions Day of Action on November 9 will go ahead.
*  Satire: World Gripped by Fear as Howard Third Term Looms
The global community has uniformly condemned the recent terrorist attacks, which horrifically helped revive the re-election prospects of John Howard.
*  Review: Flashbacks
Cultural theortician Neale Towart consults his record collection in a bid to understand the chaos gripping the earth.

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Unions Triumph in Bra Battle
In a major victory in the union-led campaign against the Burmese military junta, Triumph International has ceased production of bras in Myanmar.
[ Full Story » ]

Ansett's Redundancy Edict: Hand in Uniforms
Ansett workers are being made to return their uniforms as a precondition for accepting redundancy, in a move believed to have been a Howard Government requirement to neutralise their political campaign.
[ Full Story » ]

Economic Management Libs Style: Porkbarrelling And Profligacy
How can John Howard claim to be a good economic manager when thousands of jobs are being lost, taxes are up $600 million, $1 billion has disappeared from the surplus, but there is no money left for schools and hospitals says the ACTU.
[ Full Story » ]

Long Hours Ranks Swell
A 76 per cent increase in the number of Australians working more than 45 hours a week has swelled the ranks of people working long hours to 2.4 million.
[ Full Story » ]

Extra Security Urged at Chemical Sites
Workers at major hazard facilities, such as chemical plants, have warned there is no national security strategy to deal with the international terror attacks.
[ Full Story » ]

Regional Airport Security Ignored By Anderson
Australia's airport security umbrella has major tears and holes in it because security screening is not compulsory for regional and rural airports, where flights involve less than 100 passengers.
[ Full Story » ]

"Sack or Back" Shier
The Community and Public Sector Union has accused the Government of "gross political interference" in the running of the ABC and called on the board to "sack or back" embattled managing director, Jonathan Shier.
[ Full Story » ]

Backpay For Exploited Guest Workers
International Transport Workersą Federation Week of Action has netted foreign seafarers in the Asia Pacific a half million dollars in backpay.
[ Full Story » ]

Nurses to Test New Equal Pay Laws
NSW Nurses will seek to have new pay equity principles applied for the first time in a bid to secure the pay rise they argue is vital to stop the flood of workers from the profession.
[ Full Story » ]

Libs Back Unions as Compo Police
Liberal MPs have advocated giving the CFMEU the right to police workers compensation evasion because the WorkCover Authority is not doing the job.
[ Full Story » ]

Racism Rocks Workplaces
At least 300 incidents of racially motivated harassment have occurred in Sydney in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on America.
[ Full Story » ]

Community of Sydney to Back CFMEU
A rally to support the CFMEU will highlight the depth of community support for the union agead of the first hearing of the Royal Commission into the Building Industry on Monday.
[ Full Story » ]

Green Activist Restrictions Lifted
Australian unionists and green activist Nic Clyde has been allowed to leave the United States and return to Australian before his November trial.
[ Full Story » ]

Hotel Union Cautious About Employer Gloom
Hotel workers have accused the Australian Hotel Association's of opportunism is raising hysteria about the effects of the US and Ansett on the industry.
[ Full Story » ]

International Workers to Converge on Sydney
Sydney is to host a major international union conference of metal industries in the week following the federal election campaign.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers' Bank Opens Shopfront
The Maritime Union has opened a Sydney shopfront, providing financial advice, home computers – and freshly brewed coffee.
[ Full Story » ]

Face The Music And Shove It Up The Junta!
With the War on Terror now in full swing, the plight of refugees from the repressive Burmese regime is being largely ignored.
[ Full Story » ]

Activists Notebook
All the latest details on actions, workshops and conferences for anyone interested in labour politics
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Joy is at it Again!

  • The Extra Yards

  • Water Aid

  • Redunancy Under Attack

  • Orwell No Anarchist

  • Ways Around Treaty Rights

  • Editorial

    Resistance is Futile!

    The right-wing think tank the Institute of Public Affairs bumbled its way into the IR debate this week with an amazing piece of ideology-dressed-as-academia.

    The focus of its attack was the FairWear Alliance of union and church groups that it accused of destroying the textile industry with their consumer campaigns for ethical production.

    How? By subjecting the industry to 'brand-mail' by having the temerity to advocate that consumers should look behind the label and boycott goods that are produced in sweatshops - or worse.

    The value of this type of consumer activity was again underlined this week when Triumph International agreed to pull out of Burma, the first nation to ever invoke ILO sanctions over the use of slave labour by the military junta.

    This decision represents a major breakthrough that could one day be remembered as establishing the beachhead for international core labour standards.

    But while those of us who believe that global capitalism should operate with some humanitarian underpinnings may be celebrating, the ideologues at the IPA are sounding the alarm bells.

    For them, the catch-cry seems to be "resistance is futile", community action in support of humanitarian values is counterproductive because it weakens industries that rely on immoral underpinnings.

    It's a similar philosophy that underpins the Howard Government's industrial relations agenda. In the modern business world there is no place for morality at the workplace as it detracts from the bottom line.

    The economy is all - and if you are locked in a 50-hour per week, dead-end job with no security, you should just be thankful you're not out of work.

    To get organized and stand up for your rights as a worker will only weaken the business - therefore stomping on workers' rights makes sound macroeconomic policy. Hence, the Third Wave of IR reform being cooked up by Abbott and Costello.

    It all serves to underline the irrationality of economic rationalism - in every business transactions there are a series of dynamics that occur off the balance sheet that have an impact on the world.

    In one sense the IA is right. The captons of industry do have something to fear; consumer action targeting that most valuable of assets - the product brand - is gaining momentum.

    And with improved communications between consumers - without the reliance on a mass media dominated by the corporate advertising dollar - we'll see more and more corporates being brought to account through savvy PR campaigns coordinated by community alliances.

    FairWear's Burmese Triumph is a first step, but it is a foretaste of the political activity that will dominate the 21st century. There's nothing futile about it.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Fighting Terror With Terror MUA Sponsors Surf Comp Paul Howes Web Week We're In the Money!



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