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Issue No. 123 21 December 2001  

The Unmaking of History
The new millennium has got off to an ominous start. The fireworks, circuses and self-congratulation of 2000 were a thing of the past and we were left with the task of redefining ourselves in a new era.


Interview: Braveheart
Labor Council secretary John Robertson looks back on a turbulent year and forward to a dynamic 2002.

International: Global Year in Review
Labourstart's Eric Lee gives his take on a year where the world changed forever.

Unions: A Year at the Barricades
2001 was a year when workers were forced to fight for what they once took for granted.

Technology: Unions Online 2001
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath looks at the advances unions made in web development in 2001.

Republic: Terror Australis
ARM national director James Terrie asks where to now for the Republic?

Economics: 2001: Annus Horribilis
Frank Stilwell looks back at a troubled year and looks forward to the challenges for the labour movement.

Campaign Diary: Melanie and Me
Strewth's Steve Cannane went into the viper's nest on election night and emerged with an ordinary feeling.

Politics: Tony Moore's Final Word
Wide boys, spivs, spin doctors and hereditary idiots have hijacked a once great Australian institution.

Review: You Are the Weakest Program
Cultural theoritician Mark Morey deconstructs the televisual subplots of our collective consciousness.

Legal: The New McCarthyism
The �war on terrorism� declared in the wake of the American events of September 11 dramatically threatens Australian democratic life.


 Unions Take Lead in Refugee Rethink

 Workers Christmas Wish List

 Sparkie Snares Organiser of the Year Title

 Bosswatch Gets International Attention

 Bank Workers Get Serious in 2002

 Qantas's Warfare Agenda Exposed

 Cabin Crew Stand Up for Themselves

 Win for Medibank Workers

 City Council's Tactics Rival Worst in the World

 Dynamic New Start for Musos

 Unions in the Mosh Pit

 Scholarship Opportunity


The Soapbox
Into the Crystal Ball
What will happen in 2002? We asked some of the players in the world of industrial relations to look into the crystal ball.

The Locker Room
The 2002 Workers Online Sports Awards
There may have been no Olympics, but there were some stellar performances in 2001, from madass bad boys to terminated talents, these are the big ones.

Trades Hall
Neale Towart's Labour (Year in) Review
Sporting a Costa crew-cut, a new look Neale looks back on some issues of 2001 that look likely to the centres of debate for unions in 2002.

Tool Shed
Tool of the Year? You're Standing In It
After a year when Australians brought out the worst in themselves, we all stand condemned for a stint in the Tool Shed.

 A Fair Go For All
 The First Bastion
 Tom Collins' Christmas Wish
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Bank Workers Get Serious in 2002

The banking industry can expect more grief in 2002, after industrial action around their Annual General Meetings placed declining service levels at the centre of public concerns.

The Finance Sector Union, who coordinated action in the NAB. Westpac and ANZ banks last week, has warned banks they face ongoing industrial action in the New Year.

Big crowds attended rallies outside the NAB AGM in Melbourne and the Westpac and ANZ talkfests in Sydney. Shareholders were greeted by rapping workers and Christmas carols and asked

While FSU representatives addressed all AGMS, a resolution calling on the bank to maximise long-term profitability by addressing community concerns was ruled out of order on a legal technicality.

At mass meetings of striking members the FSU unveiled its 'Take Back What's Yours' campaign which will involve bans on overtime, enforcing start and finish times and taking meal breaks.

And the banks face more negative publicity, after the campaign gained national headlines with revelations Westpac staff had been issued with BBQ cheat cards to justify cuts to banking services.

Joy for Worker Who Spoke Out

Meanwhile, the ANZ Bank has lifted a gag on a bank worker who had been threatened with the sack for speaking to the media about staff concerns about the bank's services.

The decision came after the ANZ was faced with legal action, consumer boycotts by the union movement and amid questioning at today's shareholder Annual General Meeting.

The worker, Joy Buckland, had taken legal action in the Federal Court under the Workplace Relations Act after being threatened with dismissal for making comment to the media. She claimed she was being victimised for her union activity.

The ANZ wrote to her last week reversing the company's position - it concedes her right to speak to the media in her capacity as National President of the Finance Sector Union.

Win for Workers Everywhere

FSU state secretary Geoff Derrick says the back down is a win for workers everywhere who have the courage to raise workplace issues in the public domain.

"Employers everywhere - but particularly in the banking industry - intimidate workers from speaking to the media," Mr Derrick said.

"Joy's courageous stand will make it easier for all workers to exercise their basic right to speak out on issues that effect their working lives. Workers have a right to get involved in their union and they should have a right raise legitimate workplace issues in public.

"It's a Catch-22 for the entire union movement: on the one hand workers are intimidated from speaking to the media. But when their union speaks on their behalf, the employers say: that's just the union - not the workers.

"The reality is that the union is the workers - and when you try to gag one worker you are attacking the entire movement."


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