Workers Online
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Workers Online
  Issue No 119 Official Organ of LaborNet 16 November 2001  




.  LaborNET

.  Ask Neale

.  Tool of the Week

*  Interview: Out of the Rubble
Michael Costa argues that Saturday's election result could have been much, much worse.
*  Unions: Sixty-Forty Are Good Odds!
John Robertson argues that while there may be many problems with the ALP, union power is not one of them.
*  Politics: Wrong Way, Go Back
Labor's failure in the federal election is the result of more than bad luck. It is the result of a shift to populism that has left the Party bereft of core principles.
*  Campaign Diary: Week Five: All Washed Up
If you can stand it, relive the fatefull final week of a most remarkable election campaign.
*  International: Trade Piracy Unmasked
As the trade barons met in Qatar to chart out their agenda, George Monbiot looks at the machinations behind the scenes.
*  Factions: The Party's Over
Chris Christodoulou renews his call for a breakdown of the factional system to bring new life into the ALP
*  History: The Fall-Out
Neale Towart looks back to Labor's reaction to its loss in the 1954 'Petrov election' and finds warnings for today's post mortem.
*  Media: Elite Defeat
Rowan Cahill looks at the intellectual paucity in the PM's ongoing attacks on 'elite opinion'.
*  Satire: Crean 'Listens To Australian People': Will Sink Refugee Boats
Simon Crean, the most likely candidate to replace Kim Beazley as Labor's leader, says he will take heed of the message sent to the ALP by Australian voters at the Federal Election.

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Solidarity Against the Pigs

Unions Call for Border Review
The head of the NSW union movement is advocating a full review of Australia's immigration and refugee policy in the wake of Labor's federal election defeat.
[ Full Story » ]

Compo Fire Reignites as Bill Hits Deck
The battle in NSW over workers compensation entitlements is on again after the Carr Government released new laws cutting injured workers rights just days after the ALP's federal election defeat.
[ Full Story » ]

Workers Unite Over Corporate Power
Unionists representing 23 million workers this week marched through the streets of Sydney calling for global unity as the international union movement attempted to incorporate labour standards into the WTO.
[ Full Story » ]

Day Three: Telstra Privatisation Begins
Just three days after the federal election, Telstra has moved to sell off one of its key business areas in a move that will cost 350 jobs and was kept secret during the campaign.
[ Full Story » ]

Primus Deal Marks New Era in Telcos
The first collective agreement in the telecommunications services sector outside Telstra has been hailed as a breakthrough for workers rights.
[ Full Story » ]

Qantas Staff Cuts Condemned
ACTU Secretary Greg Combet condemned Qantas' announcement today that it will cut up to 2,000 Australian jobs before Christmas as callous and called on the Federal Government to act on Australia's jobs crisis.
[ Full Story » ]

Bank Workers Seek Proxies for AGMs
Finance workers are gearing up for national industrial action to coincide with the Annual General Meetings of the major banks in mid-December.
[ Full Story » ]

Blokes Stand Up For The Ladies
In a victory for industrial chivalry, a group of blue-collar male workers have forced their employer to deal collectively with their female colleagues in the company's office.
[ Full Story » ]

Landmark Community Services Win
The Australian Services Union has welcomed the new Social & Community Services Award which was handed down by the NSW Industrial Relations Commission this afternoon.
[ Full Story » ]

Anger at Sartor's Power Grab
Plans to extend the boundaries of the City of Sydney have been slammed by the Municipal Employees Union, currently in a bitter fight with Lord Mayor Frank Sartor over competitive tendering.
[ Full Story » ]

Consumer Boycott Call for Sugar Co-op
A consumer boycott of Sunshine Sugar products has been endorsed by major unions involved in the sugar industry dispute over the lock-out of 350 workers on the NSW north coast.
[ Full Story » ]

Apprentices Win Parity with Uni Students
A campaign by young electricians has won transport concessions for all apprentices bringing them parity with the benefits enjoyed by university students.
[ Full Story » ]

Competition for Nurses Hots Up
Nurses at one of Australia's largest private hospitals have won significant improvements in wages and conditions, which go a long way towards making nursing a more attractive profession.
[ Full Story » ]

CFMEU Launches Bunny Club
Souths legend George Piggins and Sean Garlick today joined CFMEU members at the launch of the CFMEU/Souths "Rabbit Warren" clubhouse.
[ Full Story » ]

ICFTU Reveals 250 Companies in Burma
Global unions have released a list of 250 companies continuing to do business with Burma in contravention of ILO sanctions over the military regime's use of slave labour.
[ Full Story » ]

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

STOP PRESS: No Democracy at Telstra AGM
Australia's largest public company has been urged to cease "riding roughshod" over workers and shareholders.
[ Full Story » ]

Letters to the Editor
  • Election Post Mortems

  • Is Loose Lips Lewis trying to sink Greens ship?

  • Prevented from Voting

  • The ALP Right and Socialism

  • Habeas Corpus

  • Editorial

    Three More Years Hard Labor

    In 1996 it seemed the election of a Howard Government was the beginning of the end for the union movement. Five years on and another Howard election win means it's just business as usual.

    No doubt the Howard Government will continue its ideological attack on the unions, the rights of their members and the industrial relations consensus that delivered us an egalitarian society for most of the 20th century.

    But battle-hardened unions and their membership will resist and - if the past five years are anything to go by - will be stronger for the struggle.

    There are a few certainties:
    - Tony Abbott's Royal Commission will attempt to sully the CFMEU but the union will survive because it has strong and committed membership base;
    - the Howard Government will bowl up another wave of industrial 'reforms' and the Democrats and Greens will combine to wipe out its most obnoxious elements;
    - workers will continue to chase unpaid entitlements as companies go broke and the government will shrug its shoulders.

    And in every industrial battle the PM and his ministers will back the boss, leaving ordinary workers to be used and abused and discarded as industrial waste.

    Through it all, the federal government will do unions a favour by creating the conditions of insecurity in the workplace where unionism will thrive.

    It is one of the ironies of recent history that union membership plummeted during the Accord years and has only begun to turn around in the face of a hostile government.

    Under a hostile government unions won the battle on the waterfront, resisted the push to force BHP workers onto contract in the Pilbara, moved into the IT sector with the collapse of One.Tel and played the leadership role that looks like saving Ansett.

    In a hostile environment unions have changed their tactics and structures - the CPSU, for instance, has moved its members onto direct debit of their fees so they need no longer rely on their employers' support for payroll deduction.

    Despite the depressing election result, we are confident that unions will survive another term of hostile government - and, indeed, will grow stronger through the process.

    For NSW unions, Day One starts Monday when the campaign against the ongoing attack on workers compensation entitlements commences.

    Ironically, the villain is a state Labor Government. It is a timely reminder to anyone considering slashing their wrists over last weekend's result.

    Peter Lewis


    Soapbox Lockerroom From Trades Hall Toolshed
    Soapbox lockerroom trades hall Toolshed
    Evan Jones on Informed Dissent Jim Marr's Tribal Mind Neale Towart's Labour Review Third Term Tool



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