||Issue No. 123||21 December 2001|
The Unmaking of History
International: Global Year in Review
Unions: A Year at the Barricades
Technology: Unions Online 2001
Republic: Terror Australis
Economics: 2001: Annus Horribilis
Campaign Diary: Melanie and Me
Politics: Tony Moore's Final Word
Review: You Are the Weakest Program
Legal: The New McCarthyism
The Locker Room
The First Bastion
Tom Collins' Christmas Wish
Workers Christmas Wish List
NSW unions have sent Premier Bob Carr a Christmas message - and a friendly reminder that there is a lot of unfinished business at Macquarie Street.
Labor Council secretary John Robertson has sent the Premier greetings of the season, while pointing out there are a large number of important worker issues remain unresolved by the Labor Government including:
- implementation of the findings of the Inquiry into Labour Hire: completed some 12 months ago by former ACTU President Jennie George, released this week, but with the recommendations still being 'considered' by Industrial Relations minister John Della Bosca.
- call centre standards: unions have called on the NSW Government to follow the leads of the Tasmanian, West Australian and Queensland governments and ensure that call centres doing government business recognise the right for workers to organise collectively.
- email privacy: a long-awaited report from the NSW Law Reform Commission into email surveillance has been released but the government will spend the summer considering whether they should implement its findings.
- public sector code of conduct: unions are awaiting a release of standard through the Department of Public Works that would hold all government contractors to core labour standards and provide an important springboard to organising work that has been outsourced from the public sector.
- measures to improve workers safety: the great undeliverable of the workers compensation 'reform' process, unions are still waiting for action on safety and compliance.
After the battle over workers compensation entitlements, unions believe there are bridges that need rebuilding and have nominated these outstanding issues as an important first step.
"The union movement wants to work constructively with the Carr Government and wants to see Labor retain power in this state," Robertson says.
"But the ALP must realise that it is expected to deal with basic issues of workers rights - not because we ask them to, but because it's the right thing a Labor Government to do.
Urgent Action Needed on Labour Hire
Meanwhile, the NSW Labor Council has called on the Carr Government to move swiftly to implement the recommendations of the Labour Hire Task Force.
Robertson says that while the release of the report this week is welcome, it comes more than 12 months after it had been handed to the Minister for Industrial Relations John Della Bosca.
"We raised the issue nearly two years ago because of concerns about the impact of the practices of some labour hire firms on both the workers they employ and the workers whose jobs they replace." Robertson says.
"We would like to see the government go further than merely considering some of the recommendations and actually move on our key concern: the lack of regulation in the industry.
"An education campaign is a good start and review of legislative definitions is welcome, but the government's response falls short of what is required: a comprehensive strategy to ensure that community employment standards are not undercut by labour hire.
"The labour hire industry is growing fast and workers whose jobs are effected by this trend are expecting decisive action.
"If the government is serious about addressing the issue, we would want to see some action early in the New Year."
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